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Erdogan Warns Iraqi Shi'ite Militias On Tal Afar

Iraqis stand in front of a banner mocking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration in Baghdad on October 8 to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq.

Turkey's president has warned that his country could respond if an Iraqi Shi'ite militia "terrorizes" the Iraqi town of Tal Afar, near Mosul.

The Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary umbrella organization dominated by Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, launched an operation on October 29 toward Tal Afar, which has a sizeable ethnic-Turkoman population.

Tal Afar was a Shi'ite-majority town before it fell to the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in 2014.

The Shi'ite militias are assisting the Iraqi government in its offensive to retake IS-held Mosul.

The state-run Anadolu agency reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that his government will be closely monitoring the behavior of the militia.

"Tel Afar is an entirely Turkmen town. if Hashd al-Shaabi starts terrorizing it, then our response will certainly be different," Erdogan said.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP