BAGHDAD, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary groups said they started an offensive on Saturday against Islamic State positions west of Mosul, assisting in the campaign to take back the city.
The militias, collectively known as Hashid Shaabi or Popular Mobilization Forces, started moving in the direction of Tal Afar, a stronghold of Islamic State west of Mosul, from their positions south of the city.
"The wounded city of Tal Afar (is among) the cities to be liberated," a statement from the Popular Mobilisation forces website said.
The operation will likely cause alarm in Ankara as Tal Afar is close to Turkey and has a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Maher Chmaytelli and Dominic Evans)
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