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Iraq's Nineveh governor: Syria helped ISIL seize Mosul

Governor of Iraq's Nineveh province says will fight back against ISIL presence in Mosul without help from Maliki
Thousands of people fled from Mosul to Erbil and Duhok on June 10, 2014 (AA)

The governor of Iraq's Nineveh Province held Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responsible Wednesday for the seizing of the northern Iraqi city Mosul by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, saying that the militant group is cooperating with the Syrian government.

Ethyl Najafi, speaking in a press conference, accused Iraqi military leaders of pulling out of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and giving al-Maliki false reports just hours before militants from the ISIL seized the city.

He demanded the trial of military leaders for letting the city be captured.

"Military commanders and the Iraqi army in Mosul vanished,” he said.

Najafi said ISIL didn't seize control of Mosul on its own and other groups participated.

"What happened in Nineveh is a collapse of the Maliki government," Najafi said. "The absence of security and military forces in Mosul made it easier for ISIL and all groups that reject al-Maliki's policy to overtake the city."

However, Najafi added that he had reports that show cooperation between ISIL the Syrian government.

Najafi also said civilians in Mosul would form popular committees and not look to Baghdad for protection. He rejected any cooperation with ISIL.

“We will hold no talks with the militant group ISIL; we will only kick them out of Mosul,” he said.

"Tens of thousands of people fled from Mosul, and there are no accurate statistics for the numbers so far," the governor said. He called for the city's residents to "go back to their business."

Maliki said Tuesday that the country had been placed on "maximum alert" and called on parliament to declare a national state of emergency.

ISIL militants capture new areas in North Iraq

Officials in Suleiman Bek town in Saladin province said that scores of ISIL militants had poured in as police forces abandoned their posts.

Taleb al-Biati, a local official, told Anadolu Agency that an unspecified number of policemen were killed and injured in clashes with the militants near the road connecting Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Shalal Abdoul, police commander in the nearby Tuz Khormato town, also in Saladin, said that enforcements of Kurdish peshmerga forces were deployed to defend the town against any possible attack by ISIL gunmen.

A police source had told AA Tuesday that ISIL militants had advanced toward Tikrit, the provincial capital of Saladin.

"ISIL militants seized control of the municipal council of al-Shurqat town, 300km north of Baghdad, and several police buildings," policeman Omar al-Jabouri told AA.

"The army withdrew suddenly; only police and SWAT teams are present in the city," Jabouri told AA.

"Militant groups have not reached Tikrit yet and no disturbances have been reported in the city, although gunmen are in control of the nearby oil town of Baji," he added.

Meanwhile, a security source in the adjacent province of Kirkuk, also in northern Iraq, said that unidentified gunmen had captured several government and security sites in the west of province.

"Security troops had abandoned their sites, allowing ISIL militants to advance into the province without fighting and capture the police and local administration buildings," the source, who asked not to be named, told AA Wednesday.

The head of Hawija town, around 70km southwest of Kirkuk, said it had fallen in the hands of ISIL militants.

"We left the town at night," Hussein al-Jabouri told AA.

"Police and army troops were manning the government buildings but then orders came to withdraw, which gave ISIL elements the chance to easily capture the town and even stage a parade in its streets," he added.

"Dozens of ISIL militants have raised their flags on the police and government buildings in the town," al-Jabouri said.

Other areas in western Kirkuk province were also captured by the militants, he added.