Battle for Mosul Dam

Battle for Mosul Dam
Part of the Northern Iraq offensive (August 2014)
and the American-led intervention in Iraq (2014–present)

Mosul Dam
Date16–19 August 2014
(3 days)
LocationMosul Dam
Nineveh Province, Iraq
Result Kurdish-Iraqi victory

Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraq Iraq


 United States
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Unknown 500[1]
Casualties and losses
Unknown 11+ killed

The Battle for Mosul Dam was a battle between the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Kurdish Peshmerga forces supported by Iraqi troops and U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes.


Mosul Dam was captured by ISIL militants on August 7, 2014, after Kurdish forces retreated from the area, following a series of battles in the region. Some American officials described the fall of the dam as a grave concern, because it could release a 20 metres (66 ft) wave of water if it was destroyed, threatening towns and cities downstream.[2] Following these recent developments, Kurdish forces, Iraqi forces, and the US Air Force launched a counter-offensive to retake the dam.

Also of ongoing grave concern was/is the fact that Mosul Dam (Formerly Saddam Dam) was constructed on evaporite rocks of the Miocene Fars (Fatha) Formation, which are water-soluble. As a result, the reservoir behind the dam was not filled to capacity. A continued program of pumping concrete grout into potential leaks meant that a long term interruption of remedial works could end in disaster.


On August 16, the US Air Force launched air strikes on ISIL positions near the dam, destroying some of their equipment.[3] Kurdish forces also launched attacks against ISIL on the same day, shelling their positions near it, and opening up the possibility for a ground attack. A Kurdish commander, Major General Abdelrahman Korini, told AFP that the Peshmerga had captured the eastern side of the dam and were "still advancing". Rudaw, a Kurdish news organization, said the air strikes appeared to be the "heaviest US bombing of militant positions since the start of air strikes" against ISIL last week. At least 11 ISIL fighters were killed by the air strikes.[4]

On August 17, the fighting continued. Kurdish officials told that peshmerga forces captured three towns near the dam: Tel Skuf, Sharafiya and Batnaya. The U.S.-led coalition had until that day conducted nine airstrikes and destroyed or damaged four armoured personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armoured vehicle. ISIL militants tried to slow down Kurdish forces by explosive devices, including homemade bombs and landmines.[5]

On August 18, Iraqi and Kurdish forces said that they had taken full control of it.[6] US President Barack Obama also confirmed that the Mosul Dam was under complete Kurdish and Iraqi control. He also said that the move to recapture the Mosul Dam was a "major step forward" in the long-term strategy to defeat the militants. Journalists in the area reported that the fighting did not completely end.[7]

On August 19, the battle ended completely with a Kurdish-Iraqi victory. BBC reporter Jim Muir who has visited the dam, said it was "back in safe hands" and appeared intact.[8]


  1. "US hails recapture of Mosul dam as symbol of united battle against Isis". The Guardian. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  2. "Mosul Dam's Takeover by ISIS Raises Risk of Flooding". Wall Street Journal. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  3. "U.S. says conducts air strikes in Iraq near Arbil and Mosul dam". Reuters. August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  4. "Iraq crisis: US strikes aid Kurdish bid to retake dam". BBC. August 16, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  5. "Iraqi Kurds battle Islamic State fighters". Al Jazeera. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  6. "Iraq crisis: The battle for Mosul dam". BBC. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  7. "Iraq crisis: Mosul dam recaptured from militants - Obama". BBC. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  8. "Iraq crisis: Mosul dam retaken from IS". BBC. August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.

Coordinates: 36°37′49″N 42°49′23″E / 36.6303°N 42.8231°E / 36.6303; 42.8231

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