Buoyed by US warplanes, Kurds recapture Mosul dam from claws of Islamic State

In what would act as an emboldening factor for Kurdish fighters of Iraq, they are reportedly very close to taking complete control of Iraq`s largest dam in Mosul from the claws of the Islamic State.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Aug 18, 2014, 16:38 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Baghdad: A day after British PM David Cameron warned against the rising menace of the "exceptionally dangerous" Islamic State militants, the UK on Monday decided to deepen its involvement in Iraq beyond humanitarian mission.

Britain`s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon on a visit to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus said that the UK could launch military missions in Iraq for "weeks and months" to come, reported the BBC.

"This is not simply a humanitarian mission," the defence secretary said, adding that Britain will explore "other ways that we may need to help save life [and] protect people".

The UK, which has already deployed Tornado jets to help Yazidi refugees, will now hover over Iraqi airspace to scour the IS targets.

Also, RAF had now deployed the Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft alongside Tornado bombers to provide vital intelligence on IS spots across Iraq, said Fallon.

meanwhile, in what would act as an emboldening factor for Kurdish fighters of Iraq, they have managed to recapture Iraq`s largest dam in Mosul from the claws of the Islamic State, reports said Monday.

The significant dam that is lifeline of northern Iraq as it provides electricity to a large part, was captured by the Islamic State militants on August 7.

To help the Kurdish peshmerga fighters retake the dam, US President Barack Obama had authorised strikes on the Islamic State targets in Irbil and near the dam yesterday.

The US State Department`s deputy spokesperson Marie Harf tweeted that President Obama informed Congress about his decision to conduct airstrikes in Iraq as the failure to retake the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten US personnel and facilities - including the US embassy in Baghdad.

"These operations are limited in their nature, duration, and scope and are being undertaken in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq," the statement added.

Reinforced by the US airstrikes that pounded Islamic State targets near Mosul dam and Irbil, Kurdish ground forces battled the extremist militants on Sunday.

Kurdish officials said that by Sunday evening, they had taken over the eastern side of the dam, the CNN reported.

But the peshmerga fighters were yet to take control of the western side, the CNN cited their spokesman as saying.

The militants have laid mines and booby traps, that the Kurdish fighters are trying to remove.

Had the dam remained in the claws of the militants, they could have wreaked havoc by flooding the cities resulting in a catastrophe-like situation.
 

The Islamic State, earlier known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has captured huge swathes of territories across northern Iraq and Syria and established a Caliphate across the occupied parts.
Even as the US got involved in the situation in Iraq on August 7, deciding to launch strikes against the Islamic State, the Sunni extremists continue their barbarism, executing dozens of minorities and abducting women and children. 

In the early part of this month, the militants took over the town of Sinjar, forcing the civilians including Christians, Yazidis and Kurds to flee to the mountains, sparking a humanitarian crisis.