ISIS Takes Mosul Dam

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 7 2014 10:31 AM

ISIS Takes Mosul Dam

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Yazidis fleeing ISIS advances in a photo from Tuesday.

Photo by Reuters

ISIS has seized Iraq's largest dam. From the Associated Press:

After a week of attempts, the radical Islamist gunmen successfully stormed the Mosul Dam and forced Kurdish forces to withdraw from the area, residents living near the dam told The Associated Press. They spoke anonymously for safety concerns.
The Islamic State group posted a statement online Thursday, confirming that they had taken control of the dam and vowed to continue "the march in all directions," adding that it will not "give up the great Caliphate project."
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ISIS has held Mosul itself since June 10; the dam is north of the city. Slate's Joshua Keating wrote Tuesday about the history of using dams as military weapons—given ISIS's ruthlessness toward civilian populations, the possibility that they could at some point intentionally create a deadly flood is a real concern.

A George Packer piece in the New Yorker reports on other ISIS advances in northern Iraq near Kurdistan, which have created tens of thousands of sudden refugees from the Yazidi minority. Many have fled into nearby mountains with limited supplies of food and water.

One small piece of hopeful news, from the AP story: "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the Iraqi air force to provide aerial support to the Kurds, in a rare show of cooperation between Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government that underscored the serious nature of this crisis."

Correction, August 7, 2014: This post originally misstated that Joshua Keating's post appeared Wednesday.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.