Kurdish peshmerga fighters look at the bodies of Islamic State (IS) fighters in Zumar, Nineveh province December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
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The Pentagon has hailed the deaths of several top leaders of ISIS, but experts say this is far from enough to cripple what has proven to be a resilient organization.U.S. officials say airstrikes have killed several senior and mid-level jihadis including Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, the right hand man of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, dealing a serious blow to the group's operations. But analysts warn that disruptions of this type are often fleeting and that the U.S.-led coalition needs to look beyond its military campaign to weaken the group that has become the world's most feared jihadi organization since proclaiming a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq six months ago. U.S. officials have been open about the limits of the military operation and have warned the West will have to dig in for the long haul to combat ISIS.The Kurdish peshmerga troops, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched the operation to retake Sinjar Wednesday.The Syrian-Kurdish fighters also captured nine villages from ISIS militants, he said.In August, ISIS militants captured the Iraqi towns of Sinjar and Zumar, prompting tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee to the mountain, where they became trapped.
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