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IS forced to defend supply lines in Iraq: US

Smoke billows after a US air strike near the Mosul dam, Iraq's largest, on the Tigris river, August 17, 2014Islamic State jihadists are having to spend more effort defending key supply lines in Iraq due to US-led air strikes and pressure from local forces, the Pentagon said Friday. The IS group’s supply routes into Iraq from neighboring Syria have become a central focus of combat, with Iraqi government and Kurdish forces — along with coalition warplanes — seeking to disrupt and cut off the militants’ access to weapons and equipment, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. “They’re trying to protect what they can hold onto now, and… also we’re seeing them put a lot more emphasis on protecting their lines of communications,” Kirby said. After nearly 1,700 air raids by US-led forces since August 8, the IS group’s advance has been halted for the most part but the jihadists have held on to much of the territory they seized in Syria and Iraq last year.

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