The Shiite Militias moving toward Tal Afar
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Shiite militia group known as Hashd al-Shaabi is preparing to launch an offensive against ISIS west of Mosul, announced one of their spokesmen on Friday.
“A few days or hours separate us from the launch of operations there,” Ahmed al-Asadi told state TV, as quoted by Reuters.
He added that they plan to capture Tal Afar, the mixed Sunni and Shiite populated Turkmen town west of Mosul.
The group is reportedly ready to advance on Tal Afar from positions they already control in Qayyara, south of Mosul.
The west of Mosul has to date been left open to ISIS, potentially enabling them to evacuate to Syria as Iraqi and Kurdish forces close in from the north, east and south. A large presence of Hashd al-Shaabi militias to Mosul’s west could, however, box in these militants and prevent them from making such an escape.
There is widespread opposition to Hashd participation in this operation, from authorities in Nineveh province and the coalition, given fears that it will inflame sectarian tensions in the region. ... http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/28102016
Turkey toward Tal Afar?
bth: So it looks like Tal Afar is going to be a key collision point between the Turks and the Iraqis as defined nationally and the Shiites and Sunnis as defined ethnically.