Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Iraq forces hit militants as UN readies major aid effort
by Staff Writers
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) Aug 19, 2014

State of play on Iraq's main frontlines
Baghdad (AFP) Aug 19, 2014 - Nearly two weeks after the United States sent warplanes back over Iraq, Kurdish and federal forces have gone on the counter-offensive in a bid to claw back the land lost to Islamic State (IS) jihadists since June.

Here is the state of play in the regions affected by the latest fighting:

MOSUL DAM AREA: Kurdish peshmerga forces and Iraqi special forces have retaken control of the Mosul dam, the country's largest. There are pockets of IS militants still fighting in the vicinity of the dam in the north of Iraq, but anti-jihadist forces have made significant progress.

TIKRIT: Iraqi government forces and allied Shiite militiamen, backed by army helicopters, launched an offensive Tuesday on the city of Tikrit (160 miles north of Baghdad), their third attempt to reclaim the hometown of executed former president Saddam Hussein.

DHULUIYA: A Sunni tribe in the southern part of Dhuluiya, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Baghdad, has been fighting off IS militants for weeks. There is daily fighting in the town and on Tuesday, an Iraqi air strike destroyed an IS convoy.

RAMADI: A coalition of Sunni tribes backed by government forces has been battling IS fighters to regain full control of Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar. The tribal fighters have vowed to work their way up the Euphrates and take back areas near the Syrian border.

FALLUJAH: The rebellious Sunni stronghold, between Baghdad and Ramadi, has remained out of government control for eight months, long before IS launched its nationwide offensive on June 9.

JURF AL-SAKHR: The sprawling agricultural area around Jurf al-Sakhr, south of Baghdad, has been the scene of almost daily fighting pitting IS militants against the army and large numbers of volunteers keen to protect the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf further south.

Iraqi forces battled Sunni militants along a string of fronts Tuesday, including in Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, as the United Nations readied a massive aid operation for displaced Iraqis.

Kurdish and federal forces, who wrested back control of Iraq's largest dam, fought jihadists in the country's north, buoyed by intensifying US air strikes and Western arms deliveries.

Other security forces backed by militiamen and tribesmen are also fighting jihadists in flashpoints north, west and south of Baghdad, officials said.

The counter-offensives against the militants came as the UN refugee agency said it was launching a major operation this week to help "close to half a million people" who have been displaced.

US President Barack Obama hailed the recapture of the Mosul Dam but warned Baghdad that "the wolf is at the door" and said it must move quickly to build an inclusive government.

The dam was the biggest prize yet clawed back from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group since it launched a major offensive in northern Iraq in June, sweeping aside Iraqi security forces.

"This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to (IS)," said Obama.

"If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America," he promised, in his clearest signal yet that the 10-day-old US air campaign was far from over.

US and other officials have repeatedly stressed that military cooperation between the Kurds and Baghdad was key to any successful counter-offensive, but their alliance remains uneasy.

"We are the ones who liberated the dam, not the peshmerga," said one of several members of the federal special forces who climbed on top of two vehicles to shout at journalists gathered at a Kurdish checkpoint.

- Fresh fighting near dam -

Fighting erupted Tuesday in the area surrounding the dam and US warplanes carried out fresh strikes targeting IS, a senior officer in the Kurdish peshmerga forces told AFP.

As anti-jihadist forces tried to reclaim ground lost earlier this month in the north, the government launched an operation to recapture the city of Tikrit, further south.

"The Iraqi army and (Shiite) volunteers, backed by Iraqi helicopters, are taking part" in the operation to retake the hometown of executed former president Saddam Hussein, a high-ranking army officer told AFP.

But the offensive stalled later Tuesday and security forces pulled back from the city, witnesses, a police officer and an anti-government fighter said.

Tikrit fell on June 11 and has since been controlled mostly by Sunni militant groups, including former members of Saddam's ruling Baath party.

The government, whose forces folded when jihadist-led militants swept across five provinces more than two months ago, has made Tikrit a priority but has already failed twice to retake it.

US military aircraft have carried out 35 air strikes against IS militants in Iraq over three days, destroying more than 90 targets, the Pentagon said.

Obama justified the strikes, the first US military intervention in Iraq since troops withdrew in 2011, with the risk of genocide against the Yazidi minority and a threat to US personnel in the Kurdish capital of Arbil.

- Major UN aid operation -

Two months of violence have brought Iraq to the brink of breakup, and world powers are relieved by the departure of divisive premier Nuri al-Maliki, who stepped down last week, hoping his successor will be a unifying figure.

In the north, members of minority groups including Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turkmen, remain under threat of kidnap or death at the hands of the jihadists, while tens of thousands of others have fled, prompting the UN to announce the major aid operation.

"Conditions remain desperate for those without access to suitable shelter, people struggling to find food and water to feed their families, and those without access to primary medical care," said Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

And the son of the Yazidi religious group's leader warned Tuesday that the community is facing "genocide" in Iraq and called for international action.

Meanwhile, IS supporters launched their latest social media effort, starting the hashtag "#AmessagefromISIStoUS" to mark posts on site Twitter, threatening the United States with remarks such as: "We will drown all of you in blood."

IS also warned that the US "will soon disappear... at the hands of the knights of the Caliphate."

The jihadists, who declared their "caliphate" over a vast region straddling the Iraq-Syria border, have also came under attack in their Syrian stronghold of Raqa by Syria's air force.


Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Jihadists kill dozens in north Iraq 'massacre': officials
Baghdad (AFP) Aug 16, 2014
Jihadists carried out a "massacre" in the northern Iraqi village of Kocho, killing dozens of people, most of them members of the Yazidi religious minority, officials said on Saturday. Jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group are carrying out attacks against minorities in Iraq's Nineveh province, prompting tens of thousands of people to flee. "We have information from multiple sources, ... read more

US Congress approves funding for Israel's Iron Dome

MEADS International touts its air defense system capabilities

Space surveillance satellites being sent into orbit

Patriot getting enhanced radar capabilities

SM-6 missile undergoes follow-on testing

U.S. Navy, Italy receiving more AARGM missiles

Nearly all Gaza rockets self-made: Israeli army

Russia has violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile: US

Drones fly alongside manned planes in Navy test mission

US names New York test site for small drones

Northrop completes UAV fuselage for NATO program

Brazil's Flight Tech exporting UAV

Harris' tactical manpack radio gets NSA certification

Saudis seek to upgrade AWAC planes

ADS will bid for USAF order for commercial satellite bandwidth

RRC supports Navy's Satellite Communications Facility in Virginia

Remington Outdoors facility to use Meggitt live-fire range systems

Supacat providing vehicles for Australian military

Military sensor needs focus of Swedish symposium

Exelis wins Army Corps of Engineers support services contract

British arbitration tribunal backs up Raytheon

German coalition bickers over arms exports

Putin vows to boost arms sales to Egypt's Sisi

Denel to buy BAE Systems company in South Africa

Pope's message lost on China?

China troops enter disputed India territory: sources

Ukraine warplane shot down as clashes kill dozens

China paper denounces 'rampant rascality' of Australia tycoon

Calculations with Nanoscale Smart Particles

Bacterial nanowires: Not what we thought they were

Flexible tapes from the nanoworld

Eco-friendly 'pre-fab nanoparticles' could revolutionize nano manufacturing

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.