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Shiite militia says it is close to Tal Afar, which Turkey has warned is off limits

By Rudaw 3/11/2016
AFP file photo of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias.
AFP file photo of the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi militias.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Shiite-led Hashd al-Shaabi militia said Thursday that its forces are 15 kilometers from Tal Afar, a Turkmen town that Turkey has warned the militia to stay clear of.


“The Hashd al-Shaabi are continuously advancing and we are just 15 kilometers from Tal Afar” and nearing the Mosul-Raqqa road, Karim Nuri, spokesperson of the Hashd al-Shaabi, told Rudaw. 


He said he hoped that “in a few hours” his forces will be in control of the Mosul-Raqqa road, a critical supply line for the two ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria.


Nuri said the Iranian-backed Hashd had not received any air support from the coalition, which had from the outset opposed any role for the militia in the Mosul offensive.


Tal Afar, north of Mosul city, is a predominantly Turkmen town that was captured by ISIS two years ago when the group captured large swathes of land in the north. 


Turkey has warned Hashd forces from entering Tal Afar, for fear the Shiite militia would brutalize the town’s population, which is divided between Sunnis and Shiites.


Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said  his country opposed  any Hashd presence in Tal Afar.


“Tal Afar is a very sensitive issue for us. We definitely do not regard it [Hashd involvement] positively in Tal Afar and Sinjar. I already told this to officials clearly,” Erdogan said Saturday.


“Tal Afar is a totally Turkmen city, with half Shiite and half Sunni Muslims. We do not judge people by their religious affiliation, we regard them as Muslims,” he added, “But if Hashd al-Shaabi terrorizes the region, our response would be different.”


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Brutalise | 3/11/2016
Turkey is brutalizing the Kurdish people so how dare they complain of Hashd Al Shaabi of brutalizing the Iraqi people. Sort out your own behaviour before you condemn other. Stop brutalizing your own Kurd people.
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 3/11/2016
"We do not judge people by their religious affiliation" -- D*MN! I just spewed coffee all over my keyboard.
vlog | 3/11/2016
It's not a "turkmen city" it has turkmen majority but there are Kurds Arabs and even Christians from Tel Afar. These Turkish rats go through the roof if any foreign official comments on the state of affairs in Turkey but they themselves draw "red lines" for other countries. I hope Hashdi Shaabi liberate Tel Afar and extreminate every ISIS rat there
Mike | 3/11/2016
Turkey forgets how when the Turkmen Shiites were fleeing Mosul both Turkey and the Kurds turned them away and would not allow them shelter. For a country so worried about ethnic Turkmen regardless of which sect they belong to, they sure didn't have a problem not allowing shiite turkmen safe haven when under assault by ISIS. Erdogan is two faced and is just looking for a reason to test his military after castrating it by removing so many soldiers after the coup. His half trained, half equipped army would be better dealing with the problems they created in Syria by backing rebels than worrying about what happens to sunni turkmen when shiite militia show up. If I was Turkey I would be more worring about the turkmen shiites who are in hashid shaabi as they have no love for and want nothign to do with turkey.
Non kurd | 3/11/2016
These illiterate terrorists are going to get beaten like dogs by the turks.

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