Iraq's Haidar al-Abadi spoke to the press yesterday regarding operations in Tal Afar, specifying that only the 72nd and 92nd brigades of the Iraqi army, consisting of Tal Afar-based Sunni and Shiite soldiers, will enter the city of Tal Afar.
Speaking at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq's al-Abadi said that the Iraqi forces have made advances on Mosul and are already engaging in intense conflict with Daesh around the city, saying: "Daesh has been placing bomb-laden vehicles in populated areas around the city and is also using snipers." The prime minister also emphasized that Shiite paramilitary groups such as the Hashd al-Shaabi will not be allowed to enter Tal Afar, which has a large Turkmen population, concluding that only the "72nd and 92nd brigades will enter the city." A possible Hashd al-Shaabi attack on Tal Afar raises concerns due to the paramilitary group's history of human rights abuses committed against the Sunni population in the past.
Shiite paramilitary organizations have long threatened Iraqi stability, evoking as much fear among locals as the Daesh terrorist organization. A vast number of extremist Shiite militias have emerged in Iraq, the majority of which are controlled by radicals believed to be affiliated with Iranian authorities. Functioning as an umbrella organization to more than 150,000 Shiite militants, these paramilitary organizations have massacred Sunni Muslim citizens, academics and scholars in "revenge" killings taken on Daesh. The Badr Corps, Mahdi Army, Army Mukhtar and the Al Abbas Brigade are the largest radical organizations operating in Iraq under the leadership of Shiite scholars.
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