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Extrimest insurgents seize dam, towns in northern Iraq

English.news.cn   2014-08-03 21:52:35

MOSUL, Iraq, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS) Sunni insurgent group took control of Iraq's largest dam near the city of Mosul and a small town on Sunday afternoon after they captured two towns earlier in the country's northern province of Nineveh, a provincial police source said.

Dozens of militants affiliated to the IS, an al-Qaida offshoot, seized Mosul Dam on the Tigris River, about 70 km north of Nineveh 's provincial capital of Mosul, without fighting with the Kurdish security forces, known as Peshmerga, who were controlling the area, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The IS militants first seized the town of Wanna, near Mosul Dam, after fierce clashes with the Peshmerga fighters since the early hours of the day, and gave the Kurdish fighters two hours in the afternoon to withdraw from the dam, the source said.

Later on, the IS militants seized the dam after the Peshmerga withdrawal, the source added.

In addition, the IS militants gave the Peshmerga several hours until Sunday evening to withdraw from the cities of Shikhan and Telkif in east of Mosul, which located some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, the source said.

Earlier in the day, a provincial security source said that the IS militants entered Sinjar, some 100 km west of Mosul, in the morning after clashes with the Peshmerga.

"The militants raised the black flag of the IS on the buildings of the local government and the town's municipality," the source said.

Thousands of families in the town have left their homes to the nearby Sinjar mountain and the city of Zakho in the semi- autonomous region of Kurdistan, the source said.

Separately, Mohammed Ibrahim al-Baiyati, head of security committee of Nineveh province, told Xinhua that the IS militants are in full control of the town of Zumar, some 70 km northwest of Mosul, since early Saturday after fierce battles with the Peshmerga who controlled the area.

The IS militants also seized many villages around Zumar and nearby small oilfields of Ayn Zala, Butma and others, in addition of taking control of the strategic oil pipelines which Iraq used to pump crude exported via Turkey.

Al-Baiyati said that fierce clashes are underway on Sunday around the town of Rabia, near the border with Syria, while thousands of families are leaving their homes toward Peshkhabour and Zakho in Kurdistan region.

Mosul Dam, Wanna, Zumar and Sinjar are part of the disputed areas which are ethnically mixed areas of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmans and others. The Kurds demanded to expand their autonomous region in northern Iraq to include the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other areas in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh, Salahudin and Diyala, but their move is fiercely opposed by Baghdad government.

Early in June, the Peshmerga took control of the disputed areas, including the northern city of Kirkuk after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from their bases following the June 10 blitzkrieg of the Sunni militant groups, including IS group, in which they seized swathes of territories in the predominantly Sunni provinces.


Editor: Fu Peng
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