Iraq’s Shiite militia fighters join Mosul operation

World Today

Pictures Of The Week Photo Gallery Women carry a boy over a wall as civilians flee their houses in the village of Tob Zawa, Iraq, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Mosul, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, as Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces fight against Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Thousands of Shiite militia fighters flocked to join the operation to re-take Mosul from ISIL.

But their presence on the battlefield could raise tensions in this mostly-Sunni region.

CCTV’s Jack Barton reports from Erbil, just east of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Iraq's Shiite militia fighters join Mosul operation

Iraq's Shiite militia fighters join Mosul operation

Thousands of Shiite militia fighters flocked to join the operation to re-take Mosul from ISIL. But their presence on the battlefield could raise tensions in this mostly-Sunni region.

The Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga have re-captured more ground from ISIL on the road to Mosul, but the emergence of Shiite militias on the battlefield is stoking long sectarian tensions.

The Iraqi army has begun what it calls phase two of the battle to re-capture the ISIL stronghold of Mosul, having re-taken most of the towns surrounding the country’s second largest city.

With Shiite militias having launched an offensive to Mosul’s west the city is now encircled.

Kurdish Pershmerga forces advancing from the east say the advance against ISIL, known here as Daesh, has been faster than anticipated.

The appearance of Shiite militias on the battlefield in the Sunni majority area has also raised concerns in Iraq and neighboring Turkey of reprisal killings.

Local Shiites were forced from the area, or killed, after ISIL swept in.

The militias say they may also take the fight across the border into Syria.

After Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa in Syria remains ISIL’s last major stronghold.