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Mayor: Sunni militants capture northern Iraq town of Tal Afar near Syrian border

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FILE - This May 27, 2014, file photo shows President Barack Obama, standing in the White House Rose Garden, and speaking about the future of US troops in Afghanistan. Obama outlined a timetable for the gradual withdrawal of the last U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and confidently declared, "This is how wars end in the 21st century." But less than three weeks later, there is a sudden burst of uncertainty surrounding the way Obama has moved to bring the two conflicts he inherited to a close. In Iraq, a fast-moving Islamic insurgency is pressing toward Baghdad, raising the possibility of fresh American military action more than two years after the last U.S. troops withdrew. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (The Associated Press)

The mayor and residents of a northern Iraqi town close to the Syrian border say Sunni militants have captured the town of Tal Afar.

Mayor Abdulal Abdoul told The Associated Press that his town, located 420 kilometers (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, was taken just before dawn on Monday.

The town has a population of some 200,000 people, mostly ethnic Shiite and Sunni Turkomen.

Residents in the town reached by phone confirmed its capture by militants. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety.

The fall of Tal Afar comes a week after militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant captured Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, and Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in a lightening offensive.