MOSCOW, August 3 (RIA Novosti) – The Islamic State militants have seized control of Iraq’s biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns in the country’s north on Sunday, Reuters has reported, citing witnesses.
Concerns grow that the terrorists could use the dam to flood major Iraqi cities or deprive them of water.
The militants on Sunday seized the towns of Wana and Sinjar.
Eyewitnesses said local residents had fled after Kurdish peshmerga fighters, who control the area, put up little resistance.
«Hundreds fled, leaving vehicles and a huge number of weapons and munitions, and the brothers control many areas," the Islamic State statement said. «The fighters arrived in the border triangle between Iraq, Syria and Turkey."
Earlier Sunday, Islamic State militants seized the town of Zumar in the north of Iraq and the nearby oil field after defeating Kurdish peshmerga fighters.
Before the planned occupation, the militants warned the civilians in the area to leave their homes.
The Islamic State militants reportedly control most oil and gas fields in Iraq and Syria and sell crude oil to finance the network of their activists in Damascus and Baghdad.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria against the country’s president, Bashar Assad, and launched an offensive in Iraq in June, taking over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad.
In June, militants from Islamic State announced establishing of a caliphate on Iraq-Syria border. The Islamist caliphate includes regions with Christians and other religious minorities.