Peshmergas look around during clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants and Peshmerga in Vane 30 kilometers north of Mosul, Iraq on January 20, 2015. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
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The black banner of ISIS, affixed to a shack within sight of this front line, is evidence of the existential threat menacing the Kurds from across the 1,000-km frontier.Not far from Wadi al-Ghorab, mostly Sunni Arab Iraqi fighters were undergoing military training to help fight to regain Mosul, one of Iraq's largest cities, and other Sunni towns that were overrun by ISIS last June before it surged menacingly toward Irbil, the heart of Kurdish power.From ordinary Kurds to top officials it is impossible to find anyone who believes in Iraq as one united country.The ties that bind Kurds with Arab Iraq are few and fraying.More than 4,500 Kurdish villages were destroyed and around 1 million Kurds displaced.Kurdish officials said Kurds were fighting ISIS for areas that rightfully belonged to the Kurdish region but that they would avoid using peshmerga fighters to drive ISIS from Sunni areas – much less to spearhead the recapture of Sunni Mosul.
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