A militia captain with the unit, which answers to the former governor of Nineveh, Atheel al-Nujaifi, told The Associated Press they will be the first to enter Mosul, the last urban stronghold of the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) in Iraq.
Iraqi government forces and allied Sunni militia groups are expected to launch an attack on Mosul later this year.
They say their arms and other equipment have been supplied by Turkey and al-Nujaifi but it’s not clear who pays their salaries.
They received stipends from Baghdad for a while but relations soured late last year after the Iraqi government tried to move them to the south and they refused.
Some of the men have received training in urban combat, some demonstrating their skills to a visiting journalist.
Their camp is only a few kilometres from the northern Mosul frontline, held by Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Turkish troops are also present on the frontline, exchanging regular fire with the ISIS group.
They arrived in the area late last year, causing a small diplomatic crisis with the Iraqi government and currently maintain some 500 troops there.
Nujaifi’s militia is just one among many irregular armed groups that have sprung up in northern Iraq in the last two years after the central government lost control of much of the area to ISIS.
Many of them are positioning themselves for a role in the liberation of Mosul and its aftermath.- alalam.ir