Islamic State militants have reportedly taken over the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River and the town of Sinjar, in which the U.N. fears could be the beginning of a "humanitarian tragedy." Meanwhile, the Iraqi government reported they had killed over 650 militants, mostly in airstrikes.
At least 30 people have been killed in Sinjar (Shengal to the Kurds), where Islamic State militants have also destroyed three significant sites. Some women may have been kidnapped. Multiple witnesses say they have been shot at or seen others executed. The militants claim to have killed scores of Kurdish fighters during the takeover. The actual casualty toll is likely to be much, much higher.
Many residents are now hiding in the nearby Sinjar Mountains, where the United Nations believes as many as 200,000 people have fled. Others are heading to Dahuk and Zakho. Sinjar was hosting a number of refugees from Tal Afar. They likely have joined the exodus.
Haji Ghandour, a Yazidi parliamentarian said that he difficulty escaping the city due to fighting. He also warned that they Yazidis have suffered "72 massacres" in the past and this could their 73rd one.
Because Kurdistan is not a sovereign nation, weapons purchases must be made through Baghdad, a complicated process even when relations are smooth. Since the Islamic State took over parts of Iraq, the Kurds have also expanded their territory, enraging Baghdad.
Karwan Zebari, the Kurdish representative in Washington D.C., hopes the rapidly deteriorating situation will encourage the U.S. to bypass Baghdad and send arms directly to the Kurdish region and Peshmerga fighters. That appears unlikely because the U.S. wants to thwart Kurdish independence measures.
The Yazidis are one of Iraq’s minority groups. Although they are Kurdish, neighboring Muslim groups have mistreated them because of their unique religious practices. In 2007, they suffered what is considered by many to be the second deadliest terrorist attack in world history. They were about to begin celebrating the Cle Havine feast when this occurred.
Other locations near Kurdistan:
Near Mosul, militants may have taken over the city’s dam, which powers Mosul. It appears at this point that it has already occurred. At other dams in Iraq, the militants have tried to flood towns and farmland. It is unclear if they plan to do this in Mosul, considering they will be cutting off their own power supply and further aggravating residents, who have already been forming resistance groups.
The town of Wana, near the Mosul Dam, was also claimed by the militants.
Two Peshmerga troops were killed near Zarko.
Peshmerga have agreed to a ceasefire south of Kirkuk. Tribal leaders want to talk the Islamic State into leaving the area voluntarily.
Militants have ordered fighters to withdraw from Tal Kief and Shikhan.
In Tal Afar, airstrikes killed over 100 militants.
Elsewhere in Iraq:
In Saidiya, militants killed the brother of a Peshmerga member and kidnapped his 11-year-old niece in a bid to have the member change allegiances. Militants kidnapped a guard at a water station they destroyed.
A car bomb exploded in Haditha, but the number of casualties was not released.
Nine security personnel were killed in Jurf al-Sakhar. Dozens of militants were killed as well.
Airstrikes left 14 militants dead in al-Bag.
In Latifiya, 35 militants were killed.
Security forces killed 24 militants in two areas of Garma.
Nine militants were killed when they tried to take over Kubaisa.
Security forces killed eight militants in Iskandariya.
In Arab Jabour, security forces killed six militants and wounded two more.
Four carloads of militants were killed near Baiji.
Militants kidnapped two women in Shirqat.
In Tikrit, seven young men were abducted.
Clashes took place in Ishaqi.