Iraqi forces recapture ISIS positions in Tal Afar

Published 18.06.2014 11:21
Updated 18.06.2014 12:36
Iraqi forces recapture ISIS positions in Tal Afar

Iraqi forces backed by Turkmen vigilante groups regained control in some areas of the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar following violent fighting with militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham militants, according to a Turkmen tribal leader.

"Special forces backed by local police and Turkmen tribal fighters managed to expel ISIS militants from many regions in Tal Afar," Haydar Ali Joulaq, leader of a Turkmen tribe in the city, told Anadolu Agency.

Five ISIS militants were killed, several others were wounded while others started to withdraw from the city, according to Joulaq.
"The Iraqi flag was hoisted on several police stations in the neighborhoods cleared of ISIS militants," Joulaq added.

ISIS captured the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar on Monday and Iraqi Army forces withdrew from Tuz Khurmatu with no appointment of replacement Peshmerga forces (Kurdish fighters) made to defend the city while ISIS forces stopped short of two kilometers outside the city.

Turkmen from Tuz Khurmatu in Northern Iraq have taken up arms on Tuesday to deter militants from ISIS attacking the city.

The minority Shia Turkmen community from Tuz Khurmatu, which lies south of northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, fear that Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) militants will attack their town and kill its residents, said Turkmen fighters commander Arjomend Mali.

Mali told the Anadolu Agency that "an estimated 1500 youths from the town have arms, and are taking turns day and night to guard the town."

"We found ourselves forced to take up arms since there is no Iraqi Army nor Peshmerga forces," he added.

Mali said that Turkmen in the region of Dakuk and Bashir village, in the Kirkuk district, also remained without protection in the face of ISIS militants.

The Tuz Khurmatu Turkmen are supported by the Iraqi Turkmen Front, led by Ershad Salihi.

"Turkmen have the right to use weapons to protect themselves and they will do so," said Iraqi Turkmen Front Leader during a press conference attended by armed Turkmen fighters on Monday.

Salihi said that necessary measures should be taken immediately as the developments in Iraq were heading toward a sectarian war.

"None of the sides will come out in victory," he said. "Iraqi people have suffered, but Turkmen have been the most negatively affected by the recent developments in the country."

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