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Kurds Launch Major Assault Against IS in Northern Iraq

  • VOA News

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, stands with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at the Prime Minister's Office in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 21, 2015.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, stands with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari at the Prime Minister's Office in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 21, 2015.

Kurdish fighters have launched what they call a new "large-scale offensive" against Islamic State forces in northern Iraq.

Kurdish security officials said Wednesday that they were carrying out the operation near the Mosul dam. They have been backed by three airstrikes near Mosul and three more near Tal Afar, conducted by the U.S.-led coalition. A number of Islamic State buildings and heavy weapons have been destroyed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that the airstrikes against the Islamic State targets have been "very effective," but that his government expected more help from the international community.

In an interview Wednesday in Baghdad with the Associated Press, Abadi stressed the need for fighting on the ground and said the training that international military advisers were giving Iraqi forces needed to happen more quickly.

"We are very thankful for the air campaign to support our military, but I think you cannot achieve victory without a real fight on the ground, and we are doing this fight and we are expecting other countries to match our fight," he said. "We don't want anybody to fight with us on this, but we need support and logistics."

The prime minister also said Iraq was struggling to find the resources to buy arms and needed help to get them quickly.

President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq. He authorized the air campaign there last August targeting Islamic State militants, and in his State of the Union address Tuesday, he asked Congress to pass a measure authorizing the use of force against Islamic State to show the country is "united in this mission."

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