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Iranians play role in breaking ISIS siege of Iraqi town

Published on Sep 2, 2014 3:37 AM
 

AMERLI, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Shi'ite militiamen paraded through Amerli on Monday, a day after breaking the two-month siege of the northern town by Sunni Islamist militants.

The scenes in Amerli and the surrounding area of Suleiman Beg offered a window into the teamwork among Kurdish fighters, the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias and into Iran's role in directly assisting their campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces.

An Iranian adviser to Iraqi police was spotted on the road near Amerli and Kurdish officers spoke of Iranians advising Iraqi fighters on targeting the Islamists. The swift end to the ISIS encirclement of the Shi'ite Turkmen town of 15,000 came on Sunday amid a push by Kurdish peshmerga, Shi'ite militias and Iraqi troops, after U.S. air strikes late Saturday hit ISIS positions.

Shi'ite militias, who battled U.S. troops during their occupation of Iraq, played a song in Amerli on Monday that taunted the extremist ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State, with the line: "The Americans couldn't beat us and you think you can?"

Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shi'ite militia fighters from the south of Iraq and Kurdish peshmerga forces walk with their weapons as they take control of Sulaiman Pek from the Islamist State militants, in the northwest of Tikrit city on Sept 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
 
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