ISIS militants could flood some of Iraq’s most important cities after capturing the country’s biggest dam. Fighters from the jihadist group seized control of the Mosul Dam from the Kurds last night in their first major victory of Kurdish army, the Peshmerga.
The Daily Mail reports that the militants also took control of an oilfield and three more towns, with their website claiming they had killed scores of Kurdish fighters: “Hundreds fled leaving vehicles and a huge number of weapons and munitions and the brothers control many areas.
“The fighters arrived in the border triangle between Iraq, Syria and Turkey,”
Control of the dam now gives the militants a serious bargaining chip in their conflict with Iraq’s beleaguered government. The jihadist group have captured large swathes of northern Iraq and neighbouring Syria, declaring an Islamic “caliphate”.
They have become notorious for imposing an extreme interpretation of Islam on the areas they have captured, forcing thousands of Christians to flee from Mosul or face execution or forced conversion.
The group are now seeking to consolidate their position by capturing key oil fields and strategic towns. They are also focusing on Syrian border crossings, allowing them to easily transport supplies back and forth.
Michael Stephen of the Royal United Services institute says that control of significant dams and waterways could be pivotal to the outcome of the conflict. He said last month: “Control of water supplies gives strategic control over both cities and countryside. We are seeing a battle for control of water. Water is now the major strategic objective of all groups in Iraq. It’s life or death. If you control water in Iraq you have a grip on Baghdad, and you can cause major problems. Water is essential in this conflict,”