While Iraqi government officials continue to claim that they are making advances in defeating the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Kurdish forces on the ground report that ISIS has begun to slowly isolate Baghdad, targeting cities in the Sunni north as well as Shi'ite south.
An extensive McClatchy report quotes several Kurdish military leaders who are significantly concerned that Baghdad could fall to ISIS. At least two critical towns that hold a supply route to Baghdad have been captured, they reported, and ISIS appeared to be traveling south to capture routes on the other side of the capital.
Jabbar Yawar, the spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga militia, told McClatchy that ISIS was reportedly six miles from Baghdad at times. “This area controls access to southern Iraq, and it appears as if they might try to push into Baghdad or even south towards the city of Hilla,” he stated.
ISIS moving south of Baghdad is significant because of strongholds they already possess in Anbar province, to the west, and their initiatives to control the north. They have also been moving ISIS jihadists east to attempt to cut off the remaining roads to the city.Meanwhile, Turkey is making sure that NATO will defend it.
Turkey raised fears on June 25 over potential spillover from turmoil in neighbouring Iraq, as NATO promised not to hesitate to defend its ally from the widening conflict.
"I can assure you that NATO allies stand together in solidarity and unity and we are focused on providing effective defence and protection of all our allies including Turkey," NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in talks with foreign ministers of the 28-nation alliance.
Whether the Administration wants to or not, it may soon become deeply involved in this spreading conflict."We will not hesitate to take the necessary steps to ensure such effective defence protection of Turkey," he added, confirming Ankara had raised concerns about Iraq.