Kurdish Forces Squeeze Islamic State Supply Line In Northern Iraq

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter keep watch during fighting with Islamic State militants on the outskirts of Mosul

Kurdish forces operating in northern Iraq said they had cleared Islamic State insurgents from nearly 500 square kilometers of territory and broken a key ISIS supply line between the city of Mosul and strongholds to the west near Syria. Reuters report:

An al Qaeda splinter group, Islamic State took Mosul, the biggest northern city, and wide swathes of northern and western Iraq in June, humbling weak government forces. But regional Kurdish peshmerga forces have since regained considerable ground with the help of U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State.
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Assisted by air strikes that began the night before and continued during the ground attack, peshmerga fighters advanced from five directions and took a commanding position above a critical crossroads at Kiske, 40 km (25 miles) west of Mosul.

A fleet of bulldozers followed, building berms and digging trenches to secure their gains.

If the Kurds manage to keep the route blocked, it would help isolate Mosul from the city of Tal Afar, an IS bastion 70 km to the west, and the Syrian border another 100 km further west. Islamic State also controls much of eastern Syria.