Monday, September 1, 2014
Iraqi Kurds retake another town form IS a day after Amerli was freed
The shaded area is territory held by IS. (Map Daily Mail)
Iraqi Kurdish forces and Shiite militiamen retook the town of Sulaiman Bek from militants on Monday, removing a key stronghold they have held for over 11 weeks, officials said. Fighting to retake the village of Yankaja, also located in Salaheddin province, northeast of Baghdad, is ongoing. Sulaiman Bek is located near Amerli, where thousands of mainly Shiite Turkmen civilians were trapped by a jihadist. Iraqi forces backed by thousands of volunteers on Sunday broke this siege the Islamic State.
Thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga forces also took part in the operation on Saturday to lift the IS-imposed blockade of the town, which is located about 180 km north of Baghdad. Iraqi planes have been targeting the militants positions since the forces started mobilizing against the extremists there.The residents of the town are facing a shortage of food and water and the humanitarian condition has been described as dire. UN had earlier warned that Shia Turkmen residents of the volatile town who are besieged by the IS could be massacred if urgent action was not taken to rescue them.
The United States carried out air strikes on Saturday against Islamic State fighters near Amerli and airdropped humanitarian aid to civilians trapped there, the Pentagon said. President Obama authorized the new military action, broadening US operations in Iraq amid an international outcry over the threat to Amerli's mostly ethnic Turkmen population. Aid was delivered by US aircraft as well as planes from Britain, France and Australia, signaling headway in Obama's efforts to draw allies into the fight against Islamic State.
Meanwhile the death toll from an explosion in Iraq’s western city of Ramadi has risen to at least 37 with official sources saying that 22 security forces were among the victims. The attacker on Sunday rammed an explosives-laden military vehicle into a construction site that was used as a base by security forces.
Islamic State (IS) militants control major areas in Ramadi, which is the capital of Anbar Province.