From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Iraq's autonomous Kurdish government says 727 of its fighters have been killed in battles with ISIL since June.
ISIL has been trying to take control of strategic areas in Iraq.
The latest town to come under siege is Balad, north of Baghdad.
Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad: