Kurdish forces advance as international opposition to Islamic State grows
Monday, August 18, 2014
Yesterday the, military of the autonomous region of in , gained control of parts of the , as part of their advance against insurgents of the . International opposition to the Islamic militant group has grown this week.
The Peshmerga were supported this weekend byairstrikes in their attempt to push back the insurgents, and Kurdish officials reported "good progress" in the face of "fierce resistance". reported eyewitness accounts of Kurdish forces successfully retaking Batmaiya and Telasqaf, mostly towns as close to Mosul — about 18 (30 ) — as they have come since June when government forces were forced out.
Mosul Dam, Iraq's largest, is vital to the region's irrigation, as well as water and power supplies. It was seized by the insurgents of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, on August 7, as part of their advance across Northern Iraq.
The advance of the Islamic State has prompted responses from many parts of the international community. On Friday theunanimously adopted a resolution targeting the extremist group's finances and leaders. Six individuals were named and now face travel bans, asset freezes, and arms embargoes. The resolution also warned of the possibility of other sanctions against anyone found to be trading with the Islamic State, in a move aimed at stopping their supply of weapons and economic gain from sale of oil being produced by the oil fields under their control.
On the same day as the Security Council's resolution, foreign ministers of the's member states issued a joint statement welcoming the efforts of those European states supporting Kurdish forces. This support includes the supply of military supplies from France, and humanitarian aid from the , with Eastern European countries providing military materials also being transported by the UK. and the were also reportedly considering the possibility of supplying aid where needed.
The US began launching airstrikes on August 8, and have continued to do so in support of the Kurdish forces and civilians stranded on.
The responses from the international community follow reports of brutality against religious minorities in Northern Iraq — such asand Christians — accompanying the Islamic State advance across the region.
reported from within Kurdistan that the local political parties have put aside their differences and are recruiting volunteers to send to the front. Many of these parties can trace their beginnings back to the 1960s–1990s struggle against the Iraqi army, many of whom continue to maintain militias which are now being deployed to reinforce the Kurdish army in the region. These are reported to have been joined by groups of ethnic Kurds from Iran.
Reports say hundreds of Yazidi volunteers are also being trained inside Kurdistan to help fight the Islamic State's advance.
- Humeyra Pamuk. "Kurds advance against militants with U.S. air support" — , August 17, 2014
- "Kurdish forces take parts of Mosul dam from Isis fighters" — , August 17, 2014
- "Kurdish forces 'recapture part of Mosul dam'" — , August 17, 2014
- "UN moves to rein in Islamic State group" — , August 16, 2014
- Arkan Ali, Saman Basharati. "Kurds Take Up Arms, Rally Behind Peshmarga" — , August 16, 2014
- Jessica Winch. "Iraq crisis: live" — , August 15, 2014