ERBIL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey intends to reinforce its troops deployments on its Iraqi border town of Silopi and that it would have a "different response" for the Shi'ite militia groups if they cause terror in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.
The Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary militia groups known as Hashd al-Shaabi claimed they have launched a massive operation against Islamic State (IS) in west of Mosul, aiming at the liberation of Tal Afar, a Turkmen town in southern Mosul.
Erdogan said the information he received has not confirmed such movement, according to Reuters.
Ankara has repeatedly warned that it would take measures if the Shi'ite militias get involved in the operation of Mosul, which has a sizable ethnic Turkmen population.
However, according to an informed military source, there is no truth to Hashd al-Shaabi's claim of advancing towards Tal Afar town in southern Mosul. The source revealed that the militia forces are about 100 km away from the town, and it is extremely difficult for them to advance with such limited air support.
Hashd al-Shaabi announced today that their forces have launched a large-scale operation against IS in southwest of Mosul and have liberated many villages from the militants, aiming to liberate Tal Afar district in west of Mosul.
The US and Nineveh officials have repeatedly opposed the engagement of the Shi'ite militias in the operation of retaking Mosul, and the Human Rights Watch also warned about the participation of the Shi'ite militias, noting in its researches earlier that the militias abused, tortured, abducted and detained civilians during the previous battles they participated in against IS.