Meanwhile, on the ground Isil militants captured the largely Turkomen
city of Tal Afar and its airport--it now controls five airports in Iraq.
The town, with a population of some 200,000 people, mostly ethnic Shiite and Sunni Turkomen
, was taken just before dawn, Mayor Abdulal Abdoul told the Associated Press.
But Sunday's fighting in Tal Afar, a majority Turkomen
town which is home to both Shi'ites and Sunnis, showed how volatile the deepening sectarian divisions have become.
Al Jarba also toured Latakia's rebel-held mountainous areas of Jabal Al Turkomen
and Jabal Al Akrad, meeting rebel commanders to assess the "latest plans and needs for the battle on the coast," the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition said.
Located 10 kilometers south of Kirkuk, the majority Turkomen
town of 5,000 thrived amongst the ethnic fault lines between competing Arab, Kurdish, and Turkomen
The town, a frequent flashpoint for violence, sits in a band of territory contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen
about 130 miles north of Baghdad.
Kirkuk is home to an ethnic mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen
who all have competing claims to the oil-rich area.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the blast in a city that is a flashpoint for ethnic tensions, with its mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen
, or other attacks in recent days Hours before the Kirkuk attack, during a joint Sunni-Shiite sermon Friday in Baghdad aimed at easing sectarian tensions, Sunni cleric Salah al-Nuaimi urged calm among Iraqis.
Three bombs exploded downtown - one in an Arab district, one in a Kurdish one, and one in a Turkomen
The population of Kirkuk is made up of Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen
, each of whom claim ownership of the city and the region's oil resources.
The force also oversees disputed areas claimed by Iraqi Arabs, Turkomen
and Kurds, in particular the areas surrounding Mosul and Kirkuk.
Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen
all claim rights to the city and the oil-rich land that surrounds it.
are one of the country's minority ethnic groups, and they include both Sunnis and Shiites.
The oil-rich city of Kirkuk is inhabited by Kurds, Turkomen
, Arabs and Christian Chaldo-Assyrians, and is 280 km to the north of Baghdad.
Kirkuk sits on top of one of Iraq's largest oil reserves and has long been a point of friction among Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen
who are vying for control of the city and the land surrounding it.