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The Kurdish forces trying to defend frontline towns like Makhmour in their autonomous region of northern Iraq have felt the brunt of the Islamic extremist fighters’ attacks and know how ferocious they are. The militants are bristling with American weapons and armored Humvees looted from Iraqi arsenals, giving them a powerful edge. After Washington’s promises to arm them, the Kurds say they badly need heavier weapons from the United States to stem the expansion of the Islamic State group. The Kurdish fighters, also known as peshmerga, say they have yet to receive any new weaponry, even though U.S. officials said this week that they have been quietly arming the Kurds since June, when the Islamic State militants first swept into Iraq.



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