In this Sunday, March. 3, 2013 file photo, Kurdish female members, foreground and background, of the Popular Protection Units stand guard at a check point near the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)
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Iraq's million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of around $25 billion, largely evaporated in the north after militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) overran the city of Mosul last month.The Kurds, who have their own armed forces known as the "peshmerga", now share all but 15 kilometres (10 miles) of their southern border with insurgents who have declared an Islamic caliphate across Iraq and Syria.The peshmerga have already clashed with insurgents, who are now armed with weapons seized from the Iraqi army, many of them supplied by the United States, which has urged the Kurds to take on ISIS.Barzani put the number of ISIS militants who took over Mosul on June 10 at fewer than 2,000, but said new recruits, fighters from Syria and capitulation of other armed factions had increased that to as many as 12,000 .Assessing the strength of those groups relative to ISIS, Barzani said they were "much weaker".
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