Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Hashd's participation in Tal Afar ops could be problematic

By Halo Kakawais 4/8/2017
Iraqi paramilitary units mobilize in Nineveh Province, northern Iraq. Photo: AP
Iraqi paramilitary units mobilize in Nineveh Province, northern Iraq. Photo: AP
The focus of media has now shifted from Mosul to Tal Afar which the largest ISIS stronghold remaining in northwestern Iraq. The operation to retake the city is possibly problematic with some regional countries against the participation Shiite forces seen to be affiliated with Iran.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s biggest hurdle for the Tal Afar operation has been the participation of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces because of pressure from Iran. This is while the Sunnis, most Turkmen and Turkey regard the participation of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces as a red line.

The Hashd al-Shaabi forces have been valuable in the area. Before the operation to retake the right bank of Mosul started in October 2016, they regained control of the Tal Afar-Shingal route from the west, hampering travel for ISIS militants between Syria and Iraq. 

Abadi previously had said that only the army and the police would be taking part in the operation to liberate Tal Afar. This reassured the Sunnis that the Hashd al-Shaabi forces won’t be taking part in the war.

However, Abadi said on July 29: “The Hashd al-Shaabi and the Hashd al-Ashayeri forces will be taking part in recapturing Tal Afar,” 

The participation of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces in this battle might not be without a cost because Turkey has on several occasions said that it will take every measure to protect the Turkmen of Tal Afar if the Hashd al-Shaabi forces do participate.

ISIS and Iraqi forces currently have a 60-kilometer front. In addition to the town itself, ISIS also controls the townships of Ayazya and Muhalabia and 47 villages. Some of these are situated in the desert areas, the rest in hilly areas east of Mount Shingal.

“ISIS has dug tunnels between most villages and has made preparations. They have made more preparations for this war than they did for Mosul offensive and this is because fighting is their only way,” Haider Waili, an Iraqi military intelligence officer, told Rudaw.

“We are training for street fighting and surprise attacks. We have a plan to prevent the explosion of schools and government places,” Major Shakir Jawdat, commander with the Iraqi federal police, said.

He also revealed names of the forces taking part in the operation — a police force trained for war at night, a sniper brigade, bomb disposal teams, the Iraqi army, counter-terrorism forces (CTS), federal police, Hashd al-Shaabi and Hashd al-Ashayeri.

“The command of joint operations will design the plan for recapturing Tal Afar. All the Hashd forces and brigades will participate in the process,” Ahmed Asadi, spokesperson for the Hashd al-Shaabi forces, told Rudaw. 

According to the Hashd al-Shaabi forces, around 2,000 ISIS militants are in Tal Afar.

Some brigades were moved from Mosul after Haider al-Abadi declared that the Hashd al-Shaabi and Hashd Ashayeri forces will take part in the offensive. These forces included: Brigade 29 of Division 15 from the Iraqi army, Brigades 9 and 10 from Division 3 of the federal police, as well Major General Hussein with the Hashd al-Shaabi forces and Tal Afar police forces.

“We have received no orders to participate in Tal Afar offensive. We prepare ourselves for months in the event a war approaches. But it is unlikely the government will allow the Nineveh guards to take part in this war,” Zuher Azim al-Jabouri, spokesperson for the Nineveh guards, told Rudaw.

Although it has been reported that only ISIS militants and their families remain in Tal Afar, officials have said kidnapped Yezidis are in the city.

“Nearly 350 abducted Yazidi Kurds are held by ISIS in Tal Afar, of whom most are children. ISIS has taken some of them to Syria,” Khayri Bozani, head of the Yazidi affairs office in the religious affairs ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), told Rudaw. 

This was supported by a Hashd spokesman.

“We have collected information on the abducted Yazidis whom we will certainly be liberating if ISIS doesn’t kill them,” Ahmed Asadi, spokesperson for the Hashd al-Shaabi forces, said.

The town of Tal Afar is 65 kilometers west of Mosul. Its population is 250,000, most of whom are Turkmen.

Tal Afar is strategic historically, politically, historically as it connects Mosul to Syria. ISIS attacked Tal Afar two weeks after capturing Mosul in 2014.


Post a New Comment
Comment as a guest or Login for more enhanced interactive experience

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

guest worker | 8/22/2017 7:58:00 PM
We know the Iraqi forces/militias have completely surrounded Tel Afar, so why are ISIS terrorists escaping in droves? and for some odd reason only...
Kurdish security detain alleged foreign ISIS militants fleeing Tal Afar
| 18 hours ago | (1)
dontbeidiot | 8/22/2017 4:01:19 PM
@Kurdo what a stupid comment. Alcohol is not outlawed in Kurdistan, there are liquor stores and bars in every town. This is a good decision. Energy...
Rekan | 8/22/2017 7:00:31 PM
First of all. The energy drink which is not allowed to be sold or distributed is only the one on the picture. All other energy drinks are totally ok...
Kurdistan bans Tiger energy drink
| yesterday at 09:00 | (7)
duroi | 8/22/2017 6:35:19 PM
We know the outcome of misguided support of US policymakers for Maliki regime, undermining the democratic principles of new Iraq and violation of...
Muraz Adzhoev | 8/22/2017 6:58:08 PM
Yes, if there is an appropriate resolution of the UN Securuty Council, providing the greater guarantee for reintegration and sovereign independence...
Barzani to Mattis: Referendum will go ahead if 'stronger alternative’ not offered
| 17 hours ago | (2)
KurdishGuy | 8/22/2017 11:56:56 AM
Congrats, and best wishes. Hope you win the contest.
Shilan | 8/22/2017 6:26:45 PM
May God’s blessings be always with you! Keep faith in Him and on your abilities
Kurdish woman in Erbil to compete in bodybuilding contest in Sweden
| yesterday at 01:35 | (3)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kurdish Peshmerga lure and kill 3 ISIS suicide bombers 3 hours ago |

Kurdish Peshmerga lure and kill 3 ISIS suicide bombers

on Tuesday night nearby the village of Gol Ahmed more
Independent state for Iraqi Kurdistan benefits Turkey 4 hours ago |

Independent state for Iraqi Kurdistan benefits Turkey

Independent Kurdistan shall not simply be built more
0.297 seconds