After taking Mosul and much of the north of Iraq in the past week, militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have captured the northwestern city of Tal Afar.
Tel Afar is strategically important: it is located west of Mosul, the north’s main city, and east of Iraq’s border with Syria. It is also close to the regions controlled by Kurds.
Meanwhile, footage released by the Iraqi defence ministry shows air strikes targeting ISIL and their vehicles in Mosul, Samarra and Salahaddin,locations all north of Baghdad.
The United States said it could launch air strikes and perhaps act jointly with its arch-enemy Iran to support the Iraqi government.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki explained: “We are open to talking to Iran about the situation in Iraq just as we are talking to all of Iraq’s neighbouring states. We are not talking about coordinating any military action in Iraq with Iran.”