11 June, 16:09

Al Qaeda militants seize Turkish consulate in Iraq's Mosul - media

Al Qaeda militants seize Turkish consulate in Iraq's Mosul - media

Militants have seized the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and efforts are under way to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff, Reuters reports quoting two Turkish government sources. Sunni insurgents from an al-Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), seized Mosul on Tuesday in a show of strength against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.

"Certain militant groups in Mosul have been directly contacted to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff," a Turkish government source said, adding there was no immediate information on the status of the diplomats.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan held an emergency meeting with the Undersecretary of Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay to discuss the developments, Turkish media reported.

The seizure of the consulate comes a day after 28 Turkish truck drivers were abducted by ISIL militants while delivering diesel to a power plant in Mosul.

Syrian gov't ready to help Iraq fight jihadist terror

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday it is willing to help Baghdad in the fight against "terrorism", a day after jihadists overran Iraq's second city Mosul. "The foreign-backed terrorism that our brothers in Iraq are facing is the same that is targeting Syria," said the foreign ministry.

Damascus is "ready to cooperate with Iraq to face terrorism, our common enemy", it said in a statement.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a radical jihadist group operating in Iraq and Syria. It aims to establish an Islamic emirate stretching across the two countries' borders.

ISIL militants spearheaded a jihadist offensive on Tuesday that claimed the province of Nineveh and its capital Mosul, as well as other parts of northern Iraq.

In Syria, ISIL controls large swathes of the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq.

"This terrorism is a threat to peace and security in the region and the world," said the Syrian ministry, calling on the UN Security Council "to decisively condemn these terrorist and criminal acts, and to take action against the countries supporting these groups."

In Syria, the regime has systematically branded peaceful opponents, rebels and jihadists alike as "terrorists" backed by the Gulf.

But rebels and dissidents opposed to President Assad's regime have turned against ISIL because of their quest for hegemony and systematic abuses.

Iraqi PM calls for state of emergency in Mosul after deadly jihadists attack

Iraq's prime minister has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency over a militant attack in Mosul. Nouri al-Maliki made the call in a televised news conference Tuesday. Militants effectively seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul on Tuesday.

"All of Nineveh province fell into the hands of militants," parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi told journalists in Baghdad, adding the gunmen were heading south towards neighbouring Salaheddin province.

An army brigadier general told AFP hundreds of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched a major assault on the security forces late on Monday.

An interior ministry official said Mosul, the scene of deadly clashes on Friday and Saturday, was "outside the control of the state and at the mercy of the militants."

Soldiers and police had stripped off their uniforms and fled, and the militants used loudspeakers to declare they had "come to liberate" the city of some two million people.

Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts and militants overran the provincial government headquarters and other key buildings, dealing a serious blow to Baghdad's attempts to tame a widening insurgency in the country.

The gunmen torched several of the city's police stations, freeing detainees held in lockups.

The fighters are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaeda splinter group that is behind the bulk of the bloody attacks in Iraq and is among the most ruthless rebel forces in Syria.

Read also:

Iraq's second city seized dy Jihadists

Iraqi Prime Minister places army in full combat readiness, suggests introducing emergency rule

Bombing at cemetery in Iraqi city leaves 20 killed

Militants seize eastern part of Iraqi city of Mosul

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