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Iraqi Shiite forces reinvigorated after Amerli victory

After successfully breaking the Islamic State’s siege on the Shiite Turkmen town of Amerli, Iraqi forces are looking to make further advances.
Iraqi Shiite militia fighters fire their weapons as they celebrate breaking a long siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants September 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR44KD4
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AMERLI, Iraq — Thick black smoke rose from some of the houses in the distance. The rocket and bullet casings lying by the side of the highway attested to the fight for control over the area. Young Shiite men armed with a variety of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, manned makeshift checkpoints along the road to the “liberated” town of Amerli. Such was the scene that greeted visitors arriving in the vicinity of Amerli and Sulaiman Bag, in the northern part of Salahuddin province, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Baghdad.

At the entrance to Amerli, children waved Shiite flags at the vehicles entering their dilapidated town. It was a genuine expression of joy at having survived what would have surely been a brutal fate if the fighters of the Islamic State (IS) had succeeded in setting foot in this town populated by Shiite Turkmen.

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