ERBIL – Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) warned the Shi'ite militia Hashd al-Shaabi against advancing into Tel Afar town in west of Mosul, saying that the residents of the town will be at risk.
Arshad al-Salihi, a Turkmen politician and ITF leader, stated in a press conference on Thursday that the Shi'ite militiamen from Hashd al-Shaabi are stationed 2 km from Tel Afar town in west of Mosul which poses danger to the lives of its population, arguing that Hashd al-Shaabi sees the area as a military zone.
The militia has blocked all escaping routes for the Islamic State (IS) militants without considering the lives of the civilians in the town.
The Turkmen leader said that the Iraqi government promised that only the Iraqi troops and federal police would participate in the operation to liberate Tel Afar, but later it sent Hashd al-Shaabi forces to the area.
Salihi believes that the militia's incursion into the town will provoke sectarian conflicts.
Nineveh officials and tribes have constantly demanded that the Shi'ite militia must be excluded in the Mosul assault; only the Iraqi army, Peshmerga forces and the volunteer forces from Mosul need to take part in the process.
In May, 2016, after the operation against IS in Fallujah, Human Rights Watch indicated in their reports that members of Hashd al-Shaabi forces have beaten, tortured, summarily executed and forcibly displaced Arab civilians, including children. Many of the displaced civilians have disappeared.
Amnesty International also revealed in its latest report on Iraq that the fighters wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms tortured and extrajudicially executed residents in villages they captured in south of Mosul.