Iraq crisis: Mosul dam capture by IS 'could have been catastrophic' says Obama

US president hails 'major step forward' after US air strikes assist Kurdish and Iraqi to regain reservoir complex

Barack Obama has insisted that the US has made a “major step forward” after American air strikes assisted Kurdish and Iraqi forces in driving back the Islamic State from one of Iraq’s key dams.

The US President said that co-operation between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi troops  - alongside the assistance from the US air force - had led to the Mosul dam being reclaimed from control of Islamic State (IS) militants. “If that dam was breached, it could have proven catastrophic,” the President told reporters. He is eager to harness Iraq’s independent defence capabilities following the onslaught of the IS militants in recent months.

"This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together in taking the fight to Isis (Islamic State), and if they continue to do so they will have the strong support of the United States of America," Mr Obama said, defending himself against allegations of mission creep. “We are not reintroducing thousands of troops to engage in combat … We’re not the Iraqi military, we’re not even the Iraqi air force.”

Separately, Pope Francis has said that the UN should move to stop IS attacking religious minorities. Speaking on a press conference en route from Seoul, South Korea, to Rome on Monday, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics said that intervention should not be carried out by "one nation alone", presumed to be America. "One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor," Francis continued, presumably referring to the United States.

Video: Iraqi and Kurd forces take back Mosul Dam

"After World War II, the idea of the United Nations came about: It's there that you must discuss 'Is there an unjust aggression? It seems so. How should we stop it?' Just this. Nothing more." The Vatican has traditionally absconded from condemning military action but it is understood to be under growing pressure to get involved in the Iraq crisis due to the increased targeting of Christians. Pope Francis said he is considering plans to visit northern Iraq to show “solidarity” with persecuted Christians, many of whom have been forced to convert to Islam or forced to leave their homes. “In these cases, where there is unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” he said on Monday. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’” 

In a separate development, the US will host a summit of the UN Security Council next month to focus on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters joining the IS and other militant factions. The US said it hopes the council will adopt a resolution addressing the growing number of foreigners recruited abroad and sent to fight for terrorist groups, amid reports that the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters has become even more acute.  "The conflicts in Syria and Iraq have highlighted this threat, with an estimated 12,000 foreign terrorist fighters joining that conflict," a US official said. The Security Council on Friday responded to the growing terrorist threat in the two countries by imposing sanctions on six men for recruiting or financing foreign fighters, and threatening additional sanctions against those supporting terrorist groups.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Warehouse Developer / Analyst (SQL, SSIS, stored procedures)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Primary NQTs!

£90 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Calling all Primary NQT's who can...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures (an SThree br...

Year 6 Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + D.O.E - Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone:...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week