Thousands of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have answered a call to join Iraqi government forces in the fight against militants from the Islamic State group (IS).
It is one of several bids to try and drive IS fighters back – a battle which the son of a former Iraqi president Bafle Talabani, says must be won.
“This is the front of the war on terrorism. And if we don’t stop this here, they will come for the West. They (Islamic State fighters) will come for England, they will come for Europe, they will come for the United States. They need to be stopped and they need to be stopped decisively.”
Although the IS summer campaign stunned Iraqi forces, a counter offensive has made some moderate gains recovering Amerli and the hydroelectric dam at Mosul.
Sunday’s breakthrough at Amerli which had been under siege for two months has been heralded as an Iraqi success.
Outgoing prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited the town to applaud the troops .
Observers say the battle for Amerli has illustrated the workings of the new teamwork among Kurdish fighters, the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias.