In a crucial effort to retake the strategic Mosul Dam from ISIS in Northern Iraq, Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, hammered the Islamic terrorist group with mortars and explosives Sunday night.
The New York Times reports that the Kurdish forces have seized the momentum provided by strategic U.S. airstrikes, squaring off with ISIS fighters in their most dramatic test yet. Dramatic not just because of the fierce and deadly fighting, but also because the Mosul dam is a critical resource that could also potentially be used as a catastrophic terror tool if destroyed, unleashing a massive wave of water that would lay waste to everything in its path and roll on across Iraq for 300 miles, almost to Baghdad.
The American fighter planes took out ten ISIS armed vehicles, seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers and blew up a checkpoint manned by the Islamic terrorist group, according to the United States Central Command.
Video of a U.S. airstrike was released by the U.S. military, featuring one of the ISIS Humvees in the area of the Northern Iraq dam:
Leading up to the latest Iraq U.S. airstrikes in support of the Kurdish fighters, the U.S. had unleashed 30 others across Iraq over the last two days. Many of those strikes were aimed around the Mosul Dam which fell into ISIS hands 10 days ago. The National Security Council released a statement Sunday saying that President Obama had ordered the strikes in Iraq in an effort to help the forces opposing ISIS and to “retake and establish control over the Mosul Dam.”
Despite reports that the Kurdish fighters had retaken the dam, as of late Sunday, Kurdish officials said fighting was ongoing around the area.
“We do not control the entire dam yet,” said Kurdish spokesman, Fuad Hussein.
At the same time, U.S. airstrikes in Northern Iraq have seemed to hamper the ISIS offensive that has terrorized the region and resulted in the brutal slaughter of hundreds, and the kidnapping of women and children. The relentless air assaults have pinned the Islamic terrorists down, bringing to a halt the seemingly effortless forward moving ransacking and pillaging of villages that ISIS fighters have, until recently, engaged in.
“The aircrafts have handicapped the ISIS forces — they cannot move easily,” said a commander of the Kurdish fighters, Hariam Agha. “They killed a lot of their fighters.”
Despite fears that ISIS militants might sabotage the dam, CNN military analyst, retired Major General James “Spider” Marks, believes the Islamic terrorist group likely wants to keep it up and running while maintaining control:
“You don’t want to have the cataclysmic event where, if this dam were to break, you would run the risk of flooding downstream along the Tigris,” said Marks. “I would think that ISIS wants to retain control of that dam and would want to maintain its integrity, because it generates this electric power and they want to be able to use that as a weapon system to those who are under their control.”
Video via the U.S. Military, images via Wikipedia, IB Times and Google Maps