Kurdish forces have reclaimed a large part of Iraq's largest dam, formerly known as Saddam Dam, from Islamic State militants, which was captured by the IS militants earlier this month, Kurdish officials reported on Sunday (17 August).

The Kurdish ground forces, supported by the US air strikes, launched the Mosul Dam takeover operation this morning, General Tawfik Desty told the Associated Press.

Iraq's past foreign minister, Kurdish Hoshyar Zebari told the BBC that fierce resistance was encountered in the Dam takeover.

US authorities said a total of 19 IS militants' vehicles were damaged on Sunday (17 August) in air strikes around the dam.

The dam, which was earlier seized by IS militants on 7 August, supplies water and electricity to the 1.7 million residents of Mosul.

It was feared that IS militants may have flooded the areas downstream had the dam not been seized back by Kurdish forces.

Zebari said Kurdish forces will now be attempting to seize the Nineveh plain from IS militants to, "ensure the return of minorities".

Four hundred Yazidi men were killed and their families abducted in northern Iraq, in a second massacre perpetrated by Islamic militants IS over Friday (15 August) and Saturday (16 August).

Kurdish fighters
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters celebrate sitting on the back of a truck as they head to the Mosul dam on the Tigris river that they recaptured from Islamic State jihadists on August 17, 2014 near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Getty Images