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Iran, Turkey fight over Tal Afar

As the predominantly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), with the support of Iran, expand their control over the recently liberated area of Tal Afar, which has a Turkmen majority, the tension between the PMU and Turkey has increased.
Members of the Shi'ite Badr Organisation fighters ride on military vehicles during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani - RTX2UAJW

BAGHDAD — “Tal Afar will be the cemetery of Turkish soldiers should Turkey attempt to take part in the battle,” Hadi al-Amiri, the head of the Badr Organization and a leader in the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), said Nov. 9 in a message to Iraq’s northern neighbor, in the event Turkish troops deployed in the Bashiqa camp attempt to take part in the liberation of Tal Afar.

On Nov. 16, Tal Afar was liberated. It is a strategic area for the PMU, as it gives them access to the Syrian border and enables them to cut off the routes for Islamic State (IS) fighters to escape to Syria. Following the liberation of Tal Afar, Amiri said that the Syrian president has invited the PMU to fight the Syrian opposition inside Syrian territory.

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