Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar center, citadel from Daesh

A woman who has suffered serious facial injuries is one of the survivors from the city which was captured by ISIS in 2014 and liberated earlier this year after a brutal battle to drive the jihadists out with immense firepower and air strikes used in the Iraq : Forces advance towards heart of IS-held bastion
Andrew Cummings | 28 August, 2017, 01:41

Majority of Tal Afar City has been reclaimed by the Iraqi forces after a weeklong battle with the Islamic State terrorists. US backed operations to retake the city of Mosul took almost 10 months due to the almost 2 million civilians inside the city at the time the battle began.

Tal Afar has experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites after the USA -led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has produced some of Islamic State's most senior commanders.

Up to 2,000 militants were believed to be defending Tal Afar when the campaign to take back the city started on August 20.

The militant group has lost much of the territory it controlled and thousands of its fighters have been killed.

Officials have said they hope to announce victory in Tal Afar by Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday set to start in Iraq on September 2. The battle for Tal Afar could also escalate tensions between Iraq, its ethnic Kurdish minority, Turkey and Syria.

The soldiers and allied fighters also freed al-Salam and Hassan Koi neighborhoods in central Tal Afar.

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The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) initiated a new push at the edge of the adjacent al-Nidaa neighborhood, Yarallah noted.

The city, located 80km west of Mosul, has produced some of ISIL's most senior commanders. "So we should look for surprise ISIL offensives, probably on the edge of Tal Afar, to distract and disorient the Iraqi forces".

At the same time, USA and Iraqi airstrikes were pounding the city, an important way station for the Islamic State to move fighters and resources between the territory it controlled in Syria and Iraq.

"Tal Afar was an important point of identity for Daesh", Hashimi said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

He added the ministry would continue to evacuate and receive displaced persons from the surrounding regions as they are being liberated and provide quick humanitarian aid.

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