The strategic Mosul Dam is back in Iraqi control following what is being called the most highly-coordinated operation involving U.S., Kurdish and Iraqi combined forces since 2011.
Mosul Dam and its 750 MW hydroelectric power plant were seized by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) earlier this month after Kurdish forces had successfully defended it earlier the same week.
More than 25 American airstrikes over the weekend allowed the Kurdish and Iraqis to mount a ground offensive Sunday, and though they were close to recapturing Mosul yesterday, mines and booby traps in the dam complex slowed progress.
Sources now report the ground forces cleared more than 500 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) fighters from the dam and its 750 MW hydroelectric power plant, giving Iraq full control of the complex.
“With our support, Iraqi and Kurdish forces took a major step forward in recapturing the largest dam in Iraq, near the city of Mosul,” President Barack Obama said earlier today. “The Mosul Dam fell under terrorist control earlier this month, and is directly tied to our objective of protecting Americans in Iraq.”
The destruction or failure of the dam could be disastrous for areas downstream on the Tigris River, covering them in up to 65 feet of water.
“If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic with floods that would have threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endangered our embassy compound in Baghdad,” Obama said.
The United States and its partners will continue supporting the Iraqi government in safeguarding the region, the President said.
“The Iraqi people need to reject them and unite to being to push them out of the lands that they’ve occupied, as we’re seeing at Mosul Dam,” Obama said. “This is going to take time. There are going to many challenges ahead, but meanwhile, there should be no doubt that the United States military will continue to carry out the limited missions that I’ve authorized.”