One by one, Iraqi cities are falling to an Islamic terrorist group bent on taking over the country and turning it into an Islamic fundamentalist state. After rolling over Fallujah, Mosul, and Kirkuk, ISIS gained control of the northwestern city of Tal Afar.
LA Times Fighters affiliated with an extremist Al Qaeda-inspired faction seized control of another town in the northwest of Iraq on Monday, beating back pro-government forces scrambling to stop the group’s advance.
UK Daily Mail Tal Afar, which has a population of 200,000, contains a mixture of Shiite and Sunni Muslims. It is also just miles from an Iraqi airbase. Later, the town of Saqlawiyah, 50 miles west of Baghdad, was also overrun by ISIS. The militants captured six Humvees and two tanks, adding to their arsenal of seized weapons originally given to Iraq by the U.S.
The new gain will allow The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) to consolidate its hold over Iraqi territory near the Syrian border. It came as worldwide outrage intensified after horrific images of an apparent mass execution emerged. Pictures posted on a militant website appear to show masked fighters forcing captives to lie down in a shallow ditch.
Further images seem to show the bodies of the men soaked in blood after being shot. Most of the soldiers who appear in the pictures are in civilian clothes. Some are shown wearing military uniforms underneath, indicating they may have hastily disguised themselves as civilians to try to escape.
‘This is the fate of the Shi’ites which Nuri (al-Maliki, Iraq’s president) brought to fight the Sunnis,’ a caption to one of the pictures reads.
Tal Afar, an ethnically diverse town of Sunni Muslims and Turkmen, was overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, after heavy clashes with Iraqi army units and Turkmen tribal fighters, according to Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency. Pro-government activists in Tal Afar, however, asserted on social media that the fight was continuing, with heavy airstrikes against the militants’ positions.
The latest ISIS onslaught sent hundreds of families fleeing, Anatolia reported. The radical Sunni Muslim group is known for its barbaric treatment of foes, especially Shiite Muslims. The fall of Tal Afar, about 260 miles northwest of the capital, Baghdad, came a day after the group posted online images depicting the gruesome executions of dozens of captive Iraqi troops.