The international media often describes the city of Mosul, the capital of Ninawa province, as the Islamic State’s (ISIS) last remaining stronghold in Iraq. However, there is another major stronghold that may soon be a flashpoint between rival factions of the anti-ISIS coalition. In late October, Iraq’s Shia militias opened a new front in the military campaign against the Islamic State, aiming to liberate the city of Tal Afar, about 35 miles west of Mosul. The entrance
of pro-government Shia militias—known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)—prompted a Turkish warning
that it may intervene to protect Sunnis in Tal Afar from potential revenge killings at the hands of Shia militia forces.