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Kurdish peshmerga, IS reach stalemate

The Kurdish peshmerga forces stationed in Mula Abdula are just a few meters away from the Islamic State militants subject to the international coalition’s airstrikes.
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters walk with their weapons as they take control of the area, on the outskirts of Mosul February 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Ari Jalal   (IRAQ - Tags - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS) - RTR4OJRR
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MULA ABDULA, Iraq — "How are the skies?" a gruff voice asks in Iraqi Arabic dialect. "The skies are clear," is the reply, after a crackle of static on the walkie-talkie through which a Kurdish major is listening to the conversation between two Islamic State (IS) militants on the other side of this front line, southwest of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq.

An irrigation canal no wider than 10 meters (33 feet) separates the lightly armed Kurdish peshmerga forces from the extremist militants in Mula Abdula, where Maj. Aziz Ahmad stands behind a defensive berm, holding the walkie-talkie up to intercept the enemy’s communications.

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