Embattled Kurdish forces began to reverse a string of losses in northern Iraq Sunday, expelling Islamic State extremists from two northern Iraqi towns, Makhmour and Gweir. They were the first areas targeted by US air strikes beginning Friday night.  Kurdish President Massoud Barzani expressed gratitude for the military assistance, but cautioned that regaining lost territory would not be easy. “We are not only fighting a terrorist group, we are fighting a terrorist state with advanced weapons,” he said in a news conference during a visit by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who was in the region to oversee aid deliveries in what has become a multinational effort to reach civilians trapped in the region of Sinjar, in the country’s northwest.