By Haydar Hadi
A pro-government militia announced Saturday it was cutting off roads connecting Syria with Iraq’s predominantly Turkmen city of Tal Afar, currently held by Daesh.
The al-Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia said in a written statement that it had cut off most supply roads between Syria and Tal Afar, located west of Mosul, in the Nineveh province.
The idea of the militia taking part in the Mosul operation has been controversial, since it has been accused of violating the rights of Sunnis in areas taken from Daesh, including Fallujah in western Iraq.
There are fears the militia could enter Tal Afar, with Turkish authorities warning that this could spark sectarian conflict.
Iraq’s prime minister, however, said that only army brigades 92 and 72 – both mixed Sunni/Shia units – will enter Tal Afar.
Last month Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey will take all necessary measures if any threat emerges from al-Hashd al-Shaabi taking Tal Afar from Daesh, adding that Turkey will not forsake the Turkmens living there.
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