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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, August 16, 2018

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ISIS militants bury Yazidi women and children alive as Kurdish try to retake Mosul dam

Yazidi massacre in northern Iraq

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BAGHDAD, Iraq - Kurdish forces have reportedly launched a mission to retake the Mosul Dam from ISIS militants, with the US on Saturday having carried out its heaviest bombing of militant positions yet, while reports have emerged of a Yazidi massacre in northern Iraq.

A Yazidi village in the north was reportedly taken by ISIS militants last week, who gave the villagers five days to convert to Islam. Those who didn't were allegedly killed over the weekend. According to Reuters, locals have reported that ISIS militants killed at least 80 people, including women and children, who were allegedly buried alive.

Surviving women and children were reportedly abducted by the militants.

Also over the weekend, Kurdish fighters in the region launched a bid to retake Mosul Dam, a key piece of infrastructure that was captured last week by ISIS militants. There are widespread fears that the militants might destroy the dam, creating a catastrophic flood that would make much of Mosul and Baghdad, the capital, uninhabitable.

The Kurdish fighters on Saturday were reported to have captured the eastern side of the damand were "still advancing", according to Kurdish commander, Major General Abdelrahman Korini speaking to the AFP news agency.

The Kurdish fighters were supported Saturday by the United States, which launched wide-ranging airstrikes on ISIS positions Saturday in what have been described as the heaviest bombing of ISIS militant positions since the start of airstrikes.

NBC News has reported that US military officials and Kurdish fighters launched the bid to retake the dam based on military intelligence that showed the militants were not yet in a position to blow up the dam wall.

Also Saturday, German's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit to underscore Germany's commitment to helping displaced Iraqis and members of the Yazidi minority.

Steinmeier's visit coincided with the arrival of two Airbus aircraft carrying supplies for the United Kingdom and Germany, while additional German military transport planes have been delivering aid through the Kurdish city of Irbil through the week.

The Kurdish have requested military support from the international community, but Germany is legally prevented by federal law from arming countries involved in armed conflict.

ISIS militant advances across northern Iraq have driven 1.2-million Iraqis from their homes, according to the United Nations, along with as many as 80,000 Yazidi and Christian minorities, who are at risk of being massacred by the militants.

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