NINAWA, Iraq — Monday, August 25, Kurdish forces seized the Mosul Dam from ISIS militants—the Sunni based terrorist group working to create an independent Islamic state.
The dam has served as the center point for the fighting between the Kurdish forces and ISIS, which has unlawfully occupied the area, forcing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to flee the area or face death.
This was a crucial success as millions of Iraqis live downstream from the dam, which is the largest in the country.
The United States has been providing air support, bombing strategic ISIS locations in order to take down the Jihadist group and help the Iraqi military to be more effective.
Spokeswoman Marie Harf spoke on behalf of the U.S. State Department, outlining the current strategy to take out ISIS including targeting leadership, degrading their operational capabilities and cutting off their financial resources.
Now that the dam is occupied, Iraqi forces will be able to enhance their control in the area. Obama expressed the importance of the recent success, explaining how dangerous the dam can be when in the wrong hands.
“If that dam was breached it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would have threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endangered our embassy compound in Baghdad,” stated the President.
Using water as a tool of war would not be new for ISIS, as they have attacked their enemies with water before. Earlier this year, the militants opened the gates on the Falluja Dam in central Iraq after taking over the area. The dam was released in order to stop the advancement of Iraqi troops. The water flooded several villages.
Apart from its potential as a weapon, the dam serves as a key source of electricity, irrigation and flood protection.
The success in seizing the dam demonstrates increased cooperation between the Kurds and the Iraqi forces – which is good news, as these groups have not always gotten along.
The operation to take back the dam was the most highly coordinated operation involving U.S., Kurdish and Iraqi forces since American troops left Iraq in 2011. Following the take over, more than 500 ISIS fighters were forced to clear the area.
While there is still a lot of progress to be made in the fight against ISIS, the dam symbolizes a step in the right direction for the Iraqi government, not to mention a morale boost for the troops working hard to end the violence against innocent civilians.
– Caroline Logan