Iraqi forces recapture large portion of Tal Afar center from 'Islamic State'

27 August, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar's Al Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from the ISIS group

Iraqi forces have advanced into the centre of the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar, military chiefs said. Clashes are ongoing with IS militants, he said.

Tal Afar is located 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Mosul, where the terrorist group declared its so-called "caliphate" in 2014 before being ousted from the city in July.

The coalition provided key air and ground support for Iraqi forces in the nine-month campaign to take back Mosul, ISIS' capital in Iraq.

Since Mosul fell to government troops, Tal Afar is the last IS enclave in the province.

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"A total of 302 militants were killed, 31 districts of Tal Afar were liberated", Rasul told a joint press conference with spokesman for the US-led coalition US Army Col. Ryan Dillon.

Iraqi forces have seized about three quarters of the city since the offensive started six days ago while the Takfiri militants remain in control of the northeast quarter, Iraqi military officials said, euronews reported.

A handout picture released by the Iraqi Federal Police on August 15, 2017, shows Iraqi armored units headed for the town of Tal Afar. The district has produced some of the armed group's most senior commanders.

Tal Afar has always been a stronghold for hard-line Sunni insurgents.

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Iraqi forces have broken through ISIL's defences inside the northern city of Tal Afar and reached the city centre, a major gain in the battle for the armed group's last urban stronghold. The city has a population of 200,000 people.

"Following their historic victory in Mosul, the (Iraqi security forces) have proven themselves a capable, formidable and increasingly professional force, and they are well-prepared to deliver another defeat to ISIS in Tal Afar", the US military said in a statement.

But many are not so sure about their safe passage out. As in the battle for Mosul, civilians are suffering badly. Those remaining were threatened with death by the militants, according to aid organizations and residents who managed to leave. People were arriving at camps for displaced people with wounds from sniper fire and mine explosions.

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