Fighters from predominantly Sunni Arab force take part in a training session before the upcoming battle to recapture Mosul in Bashiqa, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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Abu Mahmoud, part of a 2,500-man predominantly Sunni Arab force pulled together to launch an offensive against Daesh (ISIS) in the Iraqi city of Mosul, has heard from relatives the group has been threatening to behead anyone who speaks of "liberation".Complaints from fighters and commanders in the National Mobilization force about lack of weapons from the Baghdad government highlight sectarian fault lines that could undermine the offensive and chances for sectarian and ethnic harmony.The National Mobilization force, which trains about five hours a day at the camp, was patched together by former Mosul governor and Sunni politician Atheel al-Nujaifi in 2014, not long after Daesh swept through northern Iraq, virtually unopposed by an army riddled with corruption.The leader of the camp, Gen. Mohammad Yehya, said there are 2,500 men primed for battle, and with proper support he could muster twice as many fighters."While Shiites make up a majority in the Popular Mobilization, it also has in its ranks Sunnis," the spokesman added, denying allegations that the government is only supporting Shiites, and not Sunnis.He said of 110,000 men in the Popular Mobilization force, 25,000 to 30,000 are Sunnis.
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