VOA News – President Barack Obama says U.S. military helped Iraqi forces and Kurds recapture a major strategic northern dam from Islamic State fighters.
In a brief appearance at the White House Monday, the president said if the militants breached the Mosul Dam, it would have brought “catastrophic” floods to northern Iraq, killing thousands.
Obama says the U.S. is seeing important progress in Iraq, helping push back terrorists and providing arms and aid to Kurdish and Iraqi forces.
He said the United States will continue to support Iraq’s newly-developing unity government and will also build an international coalition to bring humanitarian aid to Iraqis.
The Pentagon said it carried out 15 more airstrikes Monday against Islamic State militants near the dam, destroying more of their fighting positions and weapons.
The Mosul Dam is crucial to northern Iraq, providing electricity and irrigation for much of the region.
The United States first launched airstrikes earlier this month against the insurgents, in part to prevent the killing of thousands of minority Yazidis stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.
Also Monday, Pope Francis said it is legitimate for the international community to use force to stop Islamic militants in Iraq. But he said that it should not be up to a single country to decide how to intervene in the conflict.