The U.S. military increased its air attack Sunday on the Islamic State near the Iraqi city of Irbil and the Mosul Dam — launching 14 strikes as part of a joint military effort to retake the critical dam from the militant group, U.S. officials said.
The weekend attacks were launched as Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters mount an extensive ground operation to retake the dam, the largest in Iraq.
Fighter planes and drones have conducted at least 23 air strikes this weekend near the dam, in an urgent effort to recapture the facility from the violent militant group before members either let it fall into disrepair or intentionally open the gates and send a wave of floodwater into the nearby cities of Irbil and Mosul.
Gen. Tawfik Desty, a commander with the Kurdish forces at the dam, said his troops now control the eastern part of the dam and that fighting continues.
U.S. defense sources tell Fox News the fighting is far from over and that a “lengthy, multi-phase operation” will likely be needed to fully retake the dam.
In addition, a senior U.S. official said the effort to retake the dam is mostly a Kurdish Peshmerga operation.
The dam, which supplies water and electricity to northern Iraq, was seized on August 7 by the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS.
A high-level Kurdish official in the Mosul area told Fox News that the Peshmerga fighters on Sunday also retook the town of Teleskof, in northern Iraq, and a few other surrounding villages. foxnews.com/us-air-strikes-helping-kurdish-iraqi-forces-retake-mosul-dam
The Mosul Dam was a dagger at the throat of Baghdad. If opened it likely would drown hundreds of thousands.
Several days ago Kurds carved an escape route for the Yazidi and Christians trapped on Sinjar Mountain. The Kurds are heavily Muslim, but tend to be pro freedom, pro American and anti-terrorist.
The stranded Yazidi refugees trapped on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq are finally being rescued.
They’ve been stranded for more than a week with little food and water after Islamic State fighters, also known as ISIS, forced them from their homes.
Now, Syrian Kurdish fighters have come to the rescue, carving out a pathway to safety for the Yazidis.
Weak and dehydrated, some of the Yazidis have made it safely to a refugee camp just inside Syria. Many needed immediate medical attention. One little girl’s feet blistered from the long, shoeless journey up and down the mountain.
“The situation in the camp is still kind of primitive,” said Maha Sidky, the head of Field Office for UNHCR in Qamishli.
“We are trying to improve it, to make it better, to increase the tents,” she explained. “Lots of people are without tents. Toilets need to be increased… for now the estimated number is 12,000 persons. “
Some of the elderly fell on the mountainside while fleeing the Islamic State militants. They are being treated for broken bones.
The United Nations says as many as 150,000 more Iraqi refugees may arrive here within the next several days. A growing number of Iraqis – especially Christians – are seeking asylum in the West.
The new head of the Anglican Church in Australia, Archbishop Phililp Freier, says the Australian government should emulate France in granting asylum requests.
And Justin Welby, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, suggests the world can no longer turn a blind eye to the rising persecution of Christians.
“What is happening right now in northern Iraq, though, is off the scale of human terror that we’ve seen over recent years,” Welby said. “In a globalized world where even distant nations are our neighbors, we cannot allow these atrocities to be unleashed with impunity.” http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2014/August/Syrian-Kurds-Rescue-Yazidis-from-Iraq-Mountain/
Video of the Rescue: