Mosul dam
An Isis fighter poses near the Mosul Dam.ISIS Media/Twitter

In a strategic move to defend the Mosul dam from the Islamic State (Isis) terrorists, Italy has announced its plans to send in 450 soldiers to Iraq, AFP reported.

Since August 2014, the Isis and Iraqi forces along with the Kurdish Peshmerga have been fighting for full-control of the Mosul dam, which serves as a lifeline for Iraq.

According to a BBC report, "whoever controls the Mosul Dam, controls most of country's water and power resources."

The dam on the Tigris river was built by a German-Italian consortium in the 80s. The Italian company - Trevi, which still has a stake recently made a call to defend the dam.

"The call (to protect the dam) was made by an Italian company... and we will send 450 of our men there to help protect it alongside the Americans," AFP reported citing Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Isis took over Mosul in June 2014 and captured the dam on 7 August. Since then Iraq has desperately been trying to retake Mosul Dam from Isis as the militants can cut water supply to millions of Iraqis or destroy the dam to cause widespread flooding, according to a Time report. 

Mosul Dam is Iraq's biggest dam with a capacity to hold 11 billion cubic meters of water and produces over 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

In June this year, it was reported that Isis closed the gates of a dam in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and thereby cut off water supply to thousands in Iraq.

Also read