ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – Lieutenant Colonel Faruq Ahmad, the Head of Tuz Khurmatu Asayish (Kurdistan security police), told K24 on Tuesday that more than 700 civilians in Tuz Khurmatu have joined the Islamic State (IS) since June 2014.
Tuz Khurmatu is a town 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Kirkuk. The majority of the population is Shiite Turkmen. Sunni Arabs and Kurds compose the rest of the inhabitants of the town.
In an interview with K24, Ahmad revealed on Tuesday that more than 700 civilians in Tuz Khurmatu and its districts have joined IS militants since June 2014. Ahmad elaborated, “Out of this number, only 17 jihadists are Kurds, and so far eight have been killed.”
Reports from the security police in the town reveal Tuz Khurmatu has one of the highest numbers of civilians joining IS militants in Iraq.
Hawkat Ahmad, a member of the city council, explained that the Iraqi Federal Government (Shiite-ruled) has often discriminated the Sunni Arabs in Tuz Khurmatu. He stated, “The discrimination against the Sunni population of the town [from Iraqi Government] has been the primary motivation of the civilians [in Tuz Khurmatu] joining IS.”
Since the beginning of the fight against IS in June 2014, the security forces in Tuz Khurmatu have conducted several operations to detect IS sleeper cells in the town according to a security official in Tuz Khurmatu. The security source also mentioned that their forces continuously collect intelligence on those who contact IS or sympathize with the extremist group.