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.
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
This seems to reflect the political and strategic realities on the ground, and strengthening business links with the region, plus recognition that with Shia-Sunni and Kurdish tensions on the rise, the KRG perhaps offers the best hope of protection of Turkomen
and Turkish interests in the region.
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.
A mix of forces are arrayed against them: police, about 12,000 for the province, who are a mix of Kurds, Turkomen
and Arabs; the Kurdish Regional Guards Brigade, thought to be 3,000 to 4,000 troops; and the 12th Iraqi Army Division, which is three-quarters Arab and totals 15,000.
But the incursion scared Arab and Turkomen
residents, who called it a thinly veiled attempt to surround Kirkuk with Kurdish forces.
30: Splendid Treasures of the Turkomen
Tribes from Central Asia.