Iraqi forces start offensive to take back Islamic State held city of Tal Afar

The city is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shi'ite volunteers in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north. About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in the city, according to US and Iraqi military commanders.

By: Reuters | Bagdadh | Published: August 20, 2017 7:08 am
Iraq, US, Iraq war, ISIS, islamic state, IS, US-Iraq coalition, Syria, World News, Indian Express An Iraqi special forces soldier stands guard while displaced Iraqis flee their homes, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants. (Source: Reuters)

Iraqi security forces launched on Sunday an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar, their next objective in the US-backed campaign to defeat Islamic State (IS) militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. “You either surrender, or die,” Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants.

A longtime stronghold of hardline Sunni insurgents, Tal Afar, 50 miles (80 km) west of Mosul, was cut off from the rest of the Islamic State-held territory in June.

The city is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shi’ite volunteers in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north. About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in the city, according to US and Iraqi military commanders. Islamic State’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed last month, when US-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants’ capital in Iraq, Mosul, after a nine-month campaign.

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