Rollling Back ISIS in Iraq

With the help of 22 U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and peshmerga forces say they have retaken key locations in Iraq's north and south.

Ground offensives mounted by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces—and bolstered by a bombardment of U.S. airstrikes—have pushed ISIS fighters from several key towns and villages in the north and south of Iraq, officials said.

Kurdish peshmerga forces said on Saturday they had recaptured key areas held by ISIS in northern Iraq, while Iraqi government forces claimed to have retaken the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

"We have managed to push out Islamic State terrorists from the town of Jurf al-Sakhar today and now we are raising the Iraqi flag over the government offices," said provincial governor Sadiq Madloul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in a Facebook post Saturday that Iraqi forces had "inflicted a strong blow to the terrorist organization ISIS."

In the north, Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces have retaken control of Zumar, a town west of the Mosul Dam, as well as surrounding villages, according to Kurdish officials.

"Zumar is controlled by the Peshmerga forces," Sheikh Ahmad Mohammad, a peshmerga commander, told Kurdish news agency Rudaw, adding, "ISIS completely evacuated it."

Hemin Hawrami, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Foreign Relations Office, said via Twitter that peshmerga forces regained control of 10 additional villages and killed approximately 80 ISIS fighters.

The ground forces were backed by 22 airstrikes by U.S.-led forces over the course of Friday and Saturday, primarily targeting ISIS units and positions near the Mosul Dam, the city of Fallujah and the northern city of Bayji, U.S. Central Command said.