From Washington, this is VOA News.
I’m Ira Mellman reporting.
An Iraqi stronghold comes under attack.
Kurdish fighters backed by U.S. airstrikes recaptured some areas around the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar from the Islamic State group after launching a new operation Thursday.
Kurdish officials said their forces were in control of villages on either side of the town and had taken control of a key road on a major supply route between Islamic State-held Mosul to the east and the group's self-proclaimed capital to the west, in Raqqa, Syria.
The route, known as Highway 47, is used by the Islamic State to transport weapons, fighters, illicit oil and other commodities that fund the militant group's operations, according to the U.S. Central Command. It says the U.S.-led coalition intends to increase pressure on Islamic State fighters and isolate their components from each other.
About 7,500 fighters are taking part in the effort. In addition to retaking Sinjar, they want to establish a buffer zone in the area to protect civilians.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry begins a three-nation trip Thursday that includes a second round of talks on Syria's political future and the fight against Islamic State militants there.
The meeting in Austria follows the initial talks in late October on the political turmoil in Syria.
Russia recently denounced U.S. plans to send ground troops to Syria to fight ISIL, accusing the U.S. of creating a proxy war with Moscow.
Before Kerry heads to Austria to address the Syria situation, he will first stop in Tunisia, where he will meet with officials for the second U.S. Tunisian Strategic Dialogue.
During an initial dialogue last April officials discussed issues including the economy, partnerships and security.
This is VOA News.
Words in This News
backed – v. giving help to; providing evidence in support of
key – adj. important or influential
route – n. a road or pathway
illicit – adj. barred by laws, rules or customs
commodity – n. something that is bought and sold
fund – v. to provide financial support
according – adv. as stated by or in
intends – v. to plan or want to do something
isolate – v. to keep separate from others
components – n. to parts
buffer – adj. neutral
zone – n. area
initial – adj. at the beginning of something
turmoil – n. unrest or disorder
proxy – adj. related to giving the power to do something for someone else
address – v. to speak about; to deal with
strategic – adj. involving a general plan that is set up to carry out a goal; useful or important in reaching a goal
dialog – n. discussions; communications
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