Speed Reads

Crisis in Iraq

Kurdish fighters reportedly recapture most or all of Iraq's critical Mosul Dam

Kurdish peshmerga fighters have retaken at least part of the strategically important Mosul Dam, Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam, from Islamic State (ISIS) militants. BBC News reports that the peshmerga, with a significant assist from U.S. military aircraft, are in near-control of the dam, while AFP and Kurdish news service BasNews say that the Kurdish forces have retaken complete control of the dam. If confirmed, this is the biggest setback for ISIS to date. ISIS captured Mosul Dam on Aug. 7.

The U.S. has conducted 30 airstrikes on ISIS targets over the past two days, hitting several armed vehicles and at least one checkpoint, mostly around Mosul Dam. In a letter to leaders of Congress, President Obama said he has ordered "limited" airstrikes to help Iraqi forces recapture the dam. "The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger 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," he said.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said that British fighter jets and surveillance aircraft are now flying missions over Iraq, and regular British troops have been deployed to help evacuate Iraqis trapped or targeted by ISIS fighters. The British forces aren't engaged in combat, Fallon said, but their mission has shifted from ending a humanitarian crisis to joining the "fight against terrorism" and aiding the new Iraqi government.