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Renewed airstrikes seek to halt ISIS advance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Drones targeted the area near Iraq’s largest dam on Saturday in a bid to drive away militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It was unclear whether airstrikes were carried out by US or Iraqi forces.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior Peshmerga commander Brig. Abdul Rahman Korini said his forces had managed to take control of parts of Mosul dam. However he warned that ISIS fighters were still in a position to destroy the dam and “flood Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.”

“I think they are working to do this and there must be coordination with Baghdad to stop this,” Korini said.

“Restoring control and securing the dam is not our responsibility alone but also that of Baghdad and the international community,” the senior Kurdish military official said.

ISIS militants continued their push towards Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Peshmerga forces, backed by US airstrikes, have been able to slow down the Islamists march on the north, but Erbil is calling for the international community to provide more arms and training to its forces.

Kurdistan Democratic Party spokesman Kamiran Berayati informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the radical group mobilized its fighters near the village of Qartaba on Friday, in a sign that it aims to further expand its military operations against the Kurdish Peshmerga.

He said: “On Friday militants from ISIS entered the village, with forces consisting of eight vehicles. They met with the village elders and told them they aim to enter the area en masse.”

“They hoisted their flag in the village and asked the people to protect it,” he added.

Berayati said that this was a strategic move to allow ISIS to counter any Peshmerga advance. He added that local Sunni Arab tribes are cooperating with ISIS, calling on Erbil’s Ministry of Peshmerga to send in reinforcements.