Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Erdogan warns Hashd al-Shaabi over entering Tal Afar

Iran Press TV

Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:11AM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will increase its military presence in town of Silopi located on the border with Iraq, while issuing a warning to Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi forces, also known as Popular Mobilization Forces.

While speaking to reporters at a reception marking the country's Republic Day in Ankara on Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey "would not look favorably" if the Hashd al-Shaabi entered the ethnic Turkmen town of Tal Afar, located close to Mosul.

He went on to vow "a different response" if the Popular Mobilization Units entered the town, which was overran by Daesh in 2014 and has become a key base for linking Takfiri terrorists in Syria's Raqqah and Mosul.

Earlier, Hashd al-Shaabi spokesman, Ahmad al-Assadi, announced that their forces have begun operations aimed at cutting supply routes between Mosul and Raqqah by freeing Tal Afar.

Meanwhile, they have liberated ten villages located around Mosul; however, they have announced that they will not be entering the city itself.

The operation is part of a large-scale offensive which the Iraqi army, volunteer Shia and Sunni fighters, and Kurdish forces recently launched to retake Mosul.

Erdogan's warning came just two days after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Ankara would view advances on Tal Afar as a threat and was prepared to take "adequate measures."

There are reports that about 50,000 Iraqi ground troops are involved in the Mosul offensive, including 30,000 army troops, 10,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the remaining 10,000 from police and Popular Mobilization Units.

Iraqi forces have so far liberated nearly 80 towns and villages ever since they began the decisive battle on October 17.

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