MAKHMUR, Kurdistan -- Taking a break from vacation, President Barack Obama acknowledged the victory of Kurdish forces, the Peshmerga, which seized control of the strategic Mosul Dam on Monday.
While it's an important victory over ISIS, there's a long road ahead as the battle around the dam continues.
The Peshmerga stopped CBN News as we traveled on a road leading straight to the Mosul Dam, about a 40-minute drive, saying ISIS mined the road further up.
"South of the dam there are still members of ISIS, and we want to clean that out as soon as possible," an officer said.
CBN News sat down with a district commander in Makhmur, about an hour's drive outside the capital of Erbil. Peshmerga forces drove ISIS out of this area several days ago.
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District Commander Ali Hussein described the kind of enemy they're fighting.
"When they controlled this area, they started to kill people, kidnap women, and slay people in the streets," Hussein said. "This is the way they control other areas. They persecuted Yazidis and Christians and threatened the Christians to either convert to Islam, pay the tax or be killed," he said.
Similar stories were told to CBN News from Iraqi Christians at the U.N. tent city erected for thousands of refugees.
Hussein said U.S. airstrikes have been very effective against ISIS, while stressing that ISIS is better armed than Peshmerga forces. He said the U.S. and the West need to provide them with much-needed weapons to fight ISIS.
"Two things are very important for us: to be armed by the United States, as well as be trained by the United States, because we have the experience," he explained. "But even if we have heavy weapons, we need the training in order to use them."
Hussein said Kurdish forces now find themselves at the point of the spear in the battle against global jihad.
"Right now Kurdistan is fighting the terror on behalf of the whole free world," he said. "The terrorists of ISIS have gathered here from everywhere in the world, and they pose a threat to countries all over the world, from Australia to Europe and other countries."
The Kurdish commander said their fight is the same fight as the United States and the West. Though President Obama pledged no more U.S. troops on the ground, the Peshmerga believes the needed boots are already here.
"The battle of the whole world moved here to Kurdistan," he continued. "Because we are the people of this region, we know how to fight against ISIS. We know the area and we know what we need to do, so this is why we need the support of the world in order to stand against ISIS."
With scenes of thousands of refugees fleeing ISIS, along with reports of their gruesome tactics, a new poll suggests Americans feel the U.S. has a responsibility to do something in Iraq.