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US, Iran woo rival Kurdish factions in battle against IS

While US airstrikes against the Islamic State have mostly benefited areas controlled by Kurdistan Democratic Party forces, Iran has reportedly provided materiel and advisers to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells towards Zummar, controlled by Islamic State (IS), near Mosul September 15, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR46B59
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KHANAQUIN, Iraq — The fight against the Islamic State (IS) in northern Diyala province is being conducted against a sand-hued backdrop with a few date trees, slow-moving rivers and rocky outcrops.

Farther north and to the west of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) capital, Erbil, the terrain is flat and featureless, where a few fields and clutches of trees break up the vast, mostly arid expanse around Makhmour.

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