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KUWAIT CITY, June 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have seized the Iraqi city of Tal Afar in the northern Nineveh province.
Iraqi media reported that the ISIS militants have entered Tal Afar at dawn. Casualties have been reported, but the exact number is yet unknown. The city’s population is around 80,000 people, with ethnic Turkmen majority. Many families were forced to flee the city.
Earlier, the Iraqi media reported heavy fighting in Tal Afar. In particular, some reports said commanders of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces asked the city mayor to pass heavy equipment to them, so that it will not end up in the hands of ISIS militants. The city’s airport was put under special supervision in order to secure several military helicopters stationed there. There is no information available on whether the extremists seized weapons and equipment.
On Sunday, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru first informed the media about ongoing combat in Tal Afar. Koru said that the ISIS attack was rebuffed, but there were casualties among the Turkmens.
Over the last week ISIS militants have established control over several regions in Iraq, including the Nineveh province and the province’s capital Mosul. Extremists have also announced they plan to advance on Baghdad. Following the announcement, the US sent aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush to the Persian Gulf.