BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iranian-backed Shi‘ite paramilitaries said on Wednesday they had linked up with Kurdish peshmerga forces west of Mosul, a move they said completed the encircling of the Islamic State-held city and nearby town of Tal Afar.
Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, a prominent leader of the Shi‘ite coalition known as Hashid Shaabi or Popular Mobilisation units, said his forces had reached a junction where Kurdish forces were deployed in Sinjar, west of Mosul and Tal Afar, close to Syria.
Islamic State remains in control of the 60 km (40 mile) road between Mosul and Tal Afar, he said in comments published on the Popular Mobilisation website. “This is what we are dealing with now,” Mohandes said, implying that the Iranian-trained militias will try to separate Mosul from Tal Afar.
Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; editing by Dominic Evans