News / Middle East

US Strikes Militants Near Key Mosul Dam in Iraq

A flight deck crew member is seen giving an 'all clear' before a F/A-18C Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf August 12, 2014.
A flight deck crew member is seen giving an 'all clear' before a F/A-18C Hornet takes off from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf August 12, 2014.
VOA News

For the second straight day, U.S. military forces have carried out airstrikes to support Kurdish fighters as they try to wrest control of a strategic dam in northern Iraq from Islamic State militants.

The White House said on Sunday that President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes in Iraq to help retake control of the Mosul Dam.       

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten U.S. personnel and facilities - including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace,” the White House said in a statement.

FILE - A general view of the dam in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.FILE - A general view of the dam in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.
x
FILE - A general view of the dam in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.
FILE - A general view of the dam in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq.


It added that the operations were being undertaken “in coordination with and at the request of the government of Iraq.” 

U.S. defense officials said Sunday's 14 raids destroyed or damaged armed vehicles, armored personnel carriers and an Islamic State checkpoint. The U.S. said it used a mix of fighter jets, bombers and unmanned drones in conducting the latest attacks, on top of nine others it carried out the day before.

Kurdish fighters are reporting they have retaken the eastern half of territory near the Mosul dam on the Tigris River, which provides electricity and irrigation for much of the region.  But the Kurds said their advance has been slowed by bombs planted by retreating jihadists, who had taken control of the dam earlier this month.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect march in a rally at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect march in a rally at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.
x
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect march in a rally at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect march in a rally at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.


On Saturday, witnesses said the Islamic State militants massacred 80 people, most of them members of the Yazidi religious minority, during a raid on the northern Iraqi village of Kocho.

The United States first launched airstrikes earlier this month against the insurgents, in part to prevent the killing of thousands of Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met in Irbil Saturday with the president of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani.  Steinmeier said Germany has made extra humanitarian aid money available for people fleeing the Islamists.

Barzani described what is happening in the region as a "tragic situation."

Aid agencies are increasing humanitarian operations in Iraq, in response to the recent U.N. declaration that the displacement crisis in the country has reached its highest level of emergency.  About 1.2 million people have fled their homes this year to escape attacks by the militants.

Some people fleeing the violence say they are in dire need of humanitarian aid.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs