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A consortium of Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by American airstrikes, captured the Mosul Dam back from the ISIL on Monday, delivering the biggest blow to the radical Sunni group yet. From the AP:

Alarmed by the militants advance, the U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes pounded the area in the past two days. The U.S. military said U.S. forces conducted nine strikes on Saturday and another 16 on Sunday in efforts to help the Iraqis retake the dam."

As we noted earlier, a pitched campaign delivered control of part of the dam to Kurdish forces earlier this weekend before the entirety of what's been called "the most dangerous dam in the world" was seized on Monday. As Daniel Pipes told CNN after the structure was initially seized by the marauding group just two weeks ago:

If you control the Mosul damn, you can threaten just about everybody -- a very substantial part of Iraq -- with flooding, with lack of electricity, with lack of water."

ISIL and its supporters were so benumbed by the loss of the dam, they quickly entered the first stage of grief: denial.

Last week, we mentioned the growing role of the PKK, the Kurdish Workers' Party, in the fighting. Despite being designated a terrorist group by the United States for waging a decades-long battle against Turkey, the group has become a formidable opponent in the battle against ISIL. Helping to lead the way have been female guerrillas who enlisted in the battle to fighting alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga. As Joe Parkinson reported:

Syrian commanders say the security and quality of life is improving as their guerrilla forces expand rapidly, propelled by thousands of young volunteers. Recruitment is boosted by the deployment of women soldiers on the front line, often in all-female units.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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