Majority of Tal Afar City has been reclaimed by the Iraqi forces after a weeklong battle with the Islamic State terrorists. Joint troops liberated al-Qadisiya, al-Rabei and al-Salam and al-Bawari, as well as the central areas of the Citadel and al-Basateen, said media reports. The spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC), Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, announced in a statement on Saturday that government forces and volunteer fighters, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, were now in control of 90 percent of the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported. He added that only a few neighborhoods in Tal Afar were still being controlled by IS.
The commander of the Tal Afar liberation operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, also said soldiers from the army’s 9th Armored Division and fighters from the 2nd and 11th brigades of Hashd al-Sha’abi had reclaimed full control over al-Muthanna al-Oula neighborhood in Tal Afar, and hoisted the Iraqi flag over several buildings there, reported Press TV. On August 21, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launching of offensive in a televised speech. He also warned IS terrorists by saying that they should either surrender or die.
The city was cut off from the rest of Islamic State-held territory in June. It is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shi’ite volunteers in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north, reported The Australian. Hours before Abadi’s announcement, the Iraqi air force dropped leaflets over the city telling the population to take precautions. “Prepare yourself, the battle is imminent and the victory is coming, God willing,” the leaflets read. Tal Afar has given some of the dreaded IS terrorists. The IS was able to get a footprint in the city due to the violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.