Jihadists pushed back in Iraq, seize key Syria airport

Kurdish peshmerga forces supported by Iraqi air strikes pushed back jihadist fighters in northern Iraq on Monday, even as the militants overran a key military airport in neighbouring Syria.

Khanaqin: Kurdish peshmerga forces supported by Iraqi air strikes pushed back jihadist fighters in northern Iraq on Monday, even as the militants overran a key military airport in neighbouring Syria.

The limited advances come as Iraq struggles to regain significant parts of the country after a lightning militant offensive led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group seized second city Mosul in June and swept through the country`s Sunni heartland, as security forces fled.
Khanaqin: Kurdish peshmerga forces supported by Iraqi air strikes pushed back jihadist fighters in northern Iraq on Monday, even as the militants overran a key military airport in neighbouring Syria.

The limited advances come as Iraq struggles to regain significant parts of the country after a lightning militant offensive led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group seized second city Mosul in June and swept through the country`s Sunni heartland, as security forces fled.
"Jalawla is strategic because it is a gateway to Baghdad," Shirko Merwais, a senior Kurdish political party official in nearby Khanaqin, told AFP.

Iraq "is carrying out air strikes and the peshmerga... are fighting on the ground," he said, adding that "in the beginning, coordination between the peshmerga and the Iraqi government was poor, but now, after the danger posed by (IS) grew, it has become much better."

Kurdish troops aided by Iraqi strikes also repelled two attacks by militants on Tuz Khurmatu, farther north, while others retook a northern area called Qaraj yesterday.

In neighbouring Syria, where IS has also overrun large areas, the jihadists won a bloody battle for the Tabqa military airport, the last stronghold of the Damascus regime in the northern province of Raqa, a monitoring group and state media said.

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