Iraqi Turkmens to form brigade to battle ISIL militants

Photo: Iraqi Turkmens to form brigade to battle ISIL militants / Arab World

Iraqi Turkmens will form a brigade of approximately 6,000 people to protect the Turkmen-populated areas of the Kirkuk province from the threat of militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, former MP Hasan Ozmen said, Anadolu agency reported.

Hasan Ozmen, former Diyala deputy from Iraqi Turkmen Front, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that they were expecting support from Baghdad and Erbil in their efforts to form the brigade.

"Both the federal government and the Kurdish administration should uphold this brigade; otherwise it cannot deal with the terrorists on its own," he said.

He also called on the UN Security Council and the international community to stand by Iraqi Turkmens amid growing threat from extremists.

The three million-strong Turkmens represent the third-largest ethnic group in Iraq, constituting 13 percent of the population.

Fighters spearheaded by the Sunni extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have extended their grip to Kirkuk after Iraqi amry reportedly withdrew from the province in the last week.

The Kurdish administration's peshmerga forces are engaged in ongoing fighting with ISIL-led militants in the province.

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