Thursday 12 June 2014

The battle for Baghdad is nigh: Thousands of men answer Iraqi government's call to arms as ISIS jihadists bear down on capital

 Iraqi men of all ages today lined up to be searched outside of the main Baghdad army recruiting centre today before volunteering for military service after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents. The al-Qaida-inspired group, ISIS, that led the charge in capturing two key Sunni-dominated cities - Mosul and Tikrit - in northern Iraq this week vowed today to march on to Baghdad, raising fears about the Shiite-led government's ability to slow the assault following the insurgents' lightning gains.

 Spirits were surprisingly high - volunteers smiled for the camera (centre) and drove armoured vehicles (top left) to the city's perimetres - despite the chaos that has enveloped the country since the assault started a week ago. Iraq's parliament was due to hold an emergency session today in a bid to secure Prime Minister Al-Maliki more powers but it was postponed because of an opposition boycott. ISIS militants, pictured right, can be seen carrying out their trademark roadside execution of an unknown motorist yesterday as they sought control of the northern, oil-rich part of the country
It’s taken a week, but the long-awaited fight back has finally come.
Thousands of Iraqis young and old have answered the beleaguered Shia-led government’s call to arms and signed up to protect the capital, and country, from ISIS militants.
As jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant march on Baghdad after capturing swathes of northern Iraq male supporters of the government turned out in droves today to enlist and fight back.
The militants have already seized control of Iraq's second largest city Mosul and oil-rich Tikrit in less than 48 hours, but so far government forces have stalled the militants' remarkably rapid advance near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad.

Nevertheless ISIS is pushing ahead with its aim to overthrow the western-backed government as part of its goal to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.
Volunteers who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants,  travel in an army truck, in Baghdad

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