BAGHDAD — Members of a minority Iraqi Shiite community whose town has been besieged by Sunni militants appealed to Iraq's military and the international community to intervene to end the siege, a lawmaker said Wednesday as the U.N. started an aid push to help Iraqis uprooted by the extremists.
The siege of the northern town of Amrili, populated by Shiite Turkmens, is part of a wide onslaught by militants from the al-Qaida-breakaway Islamic State group and their Sunni allies who have seized large swaths of western and northern Iraq this summer.
The group has since declared a self-styled caliphate in territory it controls in Iraq and neighboring Syria, imposing its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
In Iraq, however, the militants' rampage suffered a major setback this week when Iraqi and Kurdish troops backed by U.S. airstrikes dislodged the Islamic fighters from a strategic dam near Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city overrun by the Islamic State in June.
Lawmaker Fawzi Akram al-Tarzi, a Turkmen, said that nearly 15,000 Shiite Turkmens in Amirli, about 105 miles north of Baghdad, have been besieged for the past two months by militants affiliated with the Islamic State.
The siege has left the residents in a dire situation, although the army airdropped some weapons, food and medical supplies recently. The town has no water or electricity, yet the residents are putting up a fierce resistance, al-Tarzi added.
Read Thursday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.