Isolation tactics in north
A young Kurdish peshmerga fighter sits with his weapon in Qadir Karam, an area recently abandoned by Iraqi forces.
KHAZAR, Iraq (CNN) -- Even as U.S. troops in Baghdad focused on leadership targets in the capital, Special Forces in Northern Iraq were working to cut off traffic between two important Iraqi cities Tuesday.
According to CNN's Ben Wedeman, U.S. Special Forces were trying to seize a strategic highway that links the city of Mosul with the oil-rich city, Kirkuk. The strategy is to cut off and isolate the cities, rather than going into them, he said.
Mosul, the main commercial city still under regime control, was hit severely Monday morning, as coalition forces flew about 50 sorties over targets in the North, Wedeman said, adding it was relatively a quiet day.
The U.S. troops have been aiding the Kurds in the North, who have been battling Iraqi forces since 1991.
Across the North, Iraqi forces have retreated after coalition air strikes, and Kurdish fighters, known as Peshmerga, have rushed in to take their place.