Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi military leaderships have excluded troops with members hailing from the Islamic State stronghold town of Tal Afar from anticipated liberation offensives, a Turkmen paramilitary leader said Sunday.
Moussa Joulaq, a captain at the Popular Mobilization Forces, the pro-government paramilitary troops fighting IS, told Anadolu Agency that the five excluded brgades are composed of “the sons of the town itself,” he said.
Those, he said, include the army’s 92nd brigade of the 15th division, the 9th and 10th brigade of the Federal Police’s third division, the Tal Afar emergency police brigades and al-Hussein Brigade of the Popular Mobilization Forces.
Joulaq voiced astonishment with the measure. “The sons of Tal Afar had taken part in most of the battles that liberated Anbar regions, Salahuddin, Mosul and others, so why deny them participation in liberating their own regions?”.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday that military plans were ready to invade Tal Afar, Islamic State’s last haven in Nineveh, with the participation of mobilization forces. Abadi declared earlier this month that the city of Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq, had been recaptured from the militant group.
Conflicting statements have been frequent regarding the participation of the Shia-led, government-recognized PMF in the liberation of Tal Afar, a town of a mixed Shia Arab and Sunni Turkmen population. Sunni Turkey has pressed Baghdad to exclude the PMFs from the anticipated campaign fearing sectarian twists.