Military Wiki
Battle for Mosul Dam
Part of Northern Iraq Offensive (August)
Mosul Dam upstream.jpg
Mosul Dam in 2011
DateAugust 16–19, 2014
LocationMosul Dam
Nineveh Province, Iraq
Result Iraqi-Kurdish-American victory

Islamic State

  • Sunni insurgents
Iraq Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan
United States United States
500[1] Iraqi Special Operations Forces
U.S. Air Force

The Battle for Mosul Dam was a battle between the forces of the Islamic State (IS), and a coalition of Iraqi troops, Peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the United States Air Force.


Mosul Dam was captured by IS insurgents on August 7, 2014, after Kurdish forces were defeated 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.


On August 16, the US Air Force launched air strikes on IS positions near the dam, destroying some of their equipment.[3] Kurdish forces also launched attacks against IS on the same day, shelling their positions near it, and opening up the possibility for a ground attack. A Kurdish commander said his forces had retaken the eastern side of the dam, but this could not be verified independently. More than eleven IS fighters were killed in the attack, but the insurgents were not routed.[4]

On August 17, the fighting intensified. Peshmerga forces claimed they captured three towns near the dam: Tel Skuf, Sharafiya and Batnaya. Airstrikes by American forces continued to push the insurgents back, but land mines placed on the roads leading to the dam prevented Kurdish forces from making swift gains. Many IS fighters were killed, and injured ones were delivered to a local hospital in Mosul, but the IS flag still flew over the dam complex.[5]

On August 18, American air strikes hit IS targets near the dam, and Iraqi and Kurdish forces said they took full control of it, but fierce fighting in the area continued. Kurdish and Iraqi forces checked the area for booby traps and bombs, and villages that had been under IS control were retaken by Kurdish forces. As IS forces retreated, they set fire to a neighbouring village.[6] US President Barack Obama said on the following day that the Mosul Dam was under complete Kurdish and Iraqi control, despite the fact that IS said they still had control of the dam.[7] Air strikes by American forces continued, and Iraqi and Kurdish forces declared that most the dam was under their control. Iraqi forces said they removed 170 bombs from the Mosul Dam complex.[8]

On August 19, the dam was completely captured by Kurdish and Iraqi forces, and, according to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), was in "safe hands". Kurdish forces were seen near the dam, along with IS equipment damaged by American air strikes. Fighting in the south continued, but the major part of the battle was over.[9]


  1. "US hails recapture of Mosul dam as symbol of united battle against Isis". 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. "Battle rages for control of Mosul dam". Al Jazeera. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  9. "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

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).