A new video short purportedly released by the Islamic State alleges to show an ISIS sniper striking and killing a Kurdish American coalition fighter near Tal Afar, “Wilayat Ninawa,” Iraq. The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on November 3. An accompanying description reads: “A Peshmerga Fighter Killed by Sniper Fire near #Iyadiyyah Town, North of #TalAfar.”
Tal Afar is about 40 miles west of Mosul, the current site of a massive military undertaking to wretch the second largest city in Iraq from the clutches of the Islamic State. ISIS captured the city in June 2014.
Last month, the American coalition, consisting of the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias, Christian militias, and the Turkish Nineveh Guard, descended upon Mosul to free it from the Islamic State. The official operation began on October 17 when it was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Since then, other battles have popped up all over Iraq in an effort by the Islamic State to draw coalition resources away Mosul. CNN reports that there are about 5,000 ISIS militants in Mosul facing nearly 109,000 troops.
Tal Afar is a city of 200,000 predominantly Turkmen with historical ties to Turkey. The city was also captured by ISIS two years ago and is 75% Sunni and 25% Shia. As the coalition moves to free Mosul, the Peshmerga and and Shia militias have moved to free Tal Afar, too.
However, Turkey has warned the the Peshmerga and the Shia militias to leave the city alone. In a recent report by Rudaw, Turkey is mostly concerned about the Hashd al-Shaabi, a Shia militia, “for fear the Shiite militia would brutalize the town’s population, which is divided between Sunnis and Shiites.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejects a Hashd presence in the town, quoted in the Turkish Anadolu Post as saying:
Tal Afar is a totally Turkmen city, with half Shia and half Sunni Muslims. We do not judge people by their religious affiliation, we regard them all as Muslims… But if Hashd al-Shaabi terrorizes the region, our response would be different.
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