After a series of battles that have raged since the beginning of August, the Kurdish peshmerga are again in control of the Mosul Dam in Iraq.
The dam in Mosul is Iraq's largest and one of the critical pieces of infrastructure for a country of 32 million people. The dam provides electricity to Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, as well as to the surrounding region. The dam can also be converted into a ready-made weapon of mass destruction — the dam is highly unstable, and if it were to collapse, massive flooding would affect both Mosul and Baghdad.
ISIS managed to wrest control of the dam away from the peshmerga on Aug. 7. However, a concerted counterattack by the peshmerga and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), with air support from the U.S., drove ISIS out.
The Mosul Dam is now fully under the control of the peshmerga and the Iraqi government. Here are photos of the aftermath of the battle to control it.
After weeks of fighting, and with substantial air support from the U.S., Iraqi and Kurdish forces managed to retake the Mosul Dam from ISIS.
A crater at the entrance of Mosul Dam on Thursday.
The U.S. bombing targeted ISIS vehicle convoys and heavy weapons, allowing the peshmerga and ISF to strike more definitively against ISIS.
So far, the U.S. has conducted over 80 airstrikes against ISIS around the Mosul Dam and in northern Iraq.
Since retaking the dam, the ISF and the peshmerga have stationed a larger contingent of soldiers throughout the area in hopes of holding it.
The soldiers have come equipped with vehicles and longer-range weaponry.
The joint action by the peshmerga and the ISF has opened a new chapter in Iraq's war against ISIS. Just last month, Baghdad was threatening action against the Kurdistan Regional Government for its increasingly autonomous actions, like selling oil independently of the central government.
ISIS' push against the Kurds has united the peshmerga and the ISF into a fight against a common foe.
This is the route the peshmerga used in this week's battle against ISIS.
Mike Nudelman/Business Insider
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