Iraq: Security forces drive out Islamic State from Tal Afar
Iraqi forces have driven the Islamic State from central Tal Afar and its historic citadel, they said today, placing them on the verge of fully recapturing one of the last IS strongholds in the country.
The advance, just days into an assault on the strategic town, comes six weeks after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the jihadists in second city Mosul, where the jihadist group declared its “caliphate” in 2014.
“Units of the Counter-Terrorism Service liberated the Citadel and Basatin districts and raised the Iraqi flag on top of the citadel,” operation commander General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement.
The CTS and federal police units had also seized three northern districts and the Al-Rabia neighbourhood west of the citadel, a day after taking the district of Al-Talia to the south.
Clashes were ongoing on the northern outskirts and Iraqi forces were dealing with final pockets of jihadists inside the city, Yarallah said.
Government troops and units of the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary coalition, backed by a US-led coalition against IS, launched the assault on Sunday after weeks of coalition and Iraqi air strikes.
Tal Afar sits on a strategic route between IS-controlled territories in Syria and Mosul, 70 kilometres further east.
Progress there has been …read more