Supported by a third day of US air strikes against Sunni militants in Iraq, Kurdish forces have carried out counterattacks claiming to have retaken two border towns.
The US drone strikes appear to have restored confidence among the Kurdish fighters who said they had liberated Gwer and Makhmur from Islamic State or IS militants.
Meanwhile France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has visited Christian leaders in the town of Erbil. With the IS less than 30 minutes away from the Iraqi Kurdish capital the safety of minorities is causing concern among the international community.
“Regarding security, although we do not have the intention to intervene, in general we never let our friends down, “ said Laurent Fabius.
Aid is being air dropped to members of the Yazidi minority who have been stranded on Mount Sinjar trying to flee the IS advance. The Sunni extremists regard the Yazidi as heretics and have threatened to kill them if they don’t convert to Islam.
The IS has captured wide swathes of northern Iraq since June, executing non-Sunni Muslim captives and minorities.