By Martin Matishak - 08/04/14 10:18 AM EDT
The U.S. is “gravely concerned” by the displacement of civilians and loss of life from recent fighting between extremist militants and Kurdish security forces in northern Iraq, the State Department said.
ISIS also took control of key oil fields in the area that could add to its coffers and help fund a possible march on Baghdad, according to The New York Times.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said a statement late Sunday that the ISIS assault along the border of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region "demonstrates once again that this terrorist organization is a dire threat to all Iraqis, the entire region, and the international community."
Psaki added that joint operations centers in Irbil and Baghdad are sharing information with Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.
Kurdish forces are prepping a counter-offensive to regain their lost territory and drive militants from the Mosul Dam area, Reuters reported.
"We will attack them until they are completely destroyed we will never show any mercy," one Kurdish colonel told the news agency. "We have given them enough chance and we will even take Mosul back. I believe within the next 48-72 hours it will be over.”
In June, the insurgents conducted a series of lightning-quick raids to capture major towns in both Syria and Iraq and threatened to move on the capital city, leading President Obama to deploy nearly 750 troops to Iraq.