By Serhad Shaker and Ibrahim Saleh
Six militia groups will take part in a planned military operation to recapture Iraq’s northwestern city of Tal Afar, a militia member said Monday.
The groups are part of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, a Shia paramilitary force that has been providing support to government forces in the ongoing fight to dislodge Daesh terrorist group from Iraq.
Lieutenant Faraj Hamed said the Abbas Brigade, Ali Al-Akbar Brigade, the Badr Military Wing, the Imam Ali Brigades, the Imam Hussein Brigade, and the Hezbollah Battalions will participate in the fight to seize control of Tal Afar from Daesh.
A predominantly Turkmen city, Tal Afar was captured by Daesh in mid-2014 along with vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.
The participation of the Hashd al-Shaabi in the planned Tal Afar operation has sparked fears of a possible sectarian conflict.
Formally incorporated into the Iraqi military last year, the Shia fighting force has faced accusations in the past of having committed atrocities in Sunni areas of Iraq to have fallen under its control.