Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi forces retake 17 villages southeast of Tal Afar from Daesh
Iraqi fighters from Popular Mobilization Units have liberated more than a dozen villages near Tal Afar as pro-government forces and army soldiers work on a planned offensive to expel the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group out of its remaining urban strongholds in the country.
The media bureau of the volunteer forces, commonly known by the Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced in a statement on Tuesday that the fighters had established full control over seventeen villages on the southeastern outskirts of the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul, starting from the northern part of Adaya area towards the village of Ain al-Jahash, southeast of Tal Afar.
The statement added that fighters from Popular Mobilization Units are now conducting survey and bomb disposal operations in the liberated areas.
Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operations, Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, told Reuters in an interview on Monday that he expected a relatively easy victory for government forces in the forthcoming operation to retake Tal Afar from Daesh as the extremists were “worn out and demoralized.”
“I don’t expect it will be a fierce battle even though the enemy is surrounded. The enemy is very worn out. I know from the intelligence reports that their morale is low,” he commented.
Jubouri estimated that there were between 1,500 and 2,000 Daesh militants left in Tal Afar. He highlighted that the battle for Tal Afar was set to start soon, and was waiting for orders from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, which would probably be issued within the next few “days or a week or two.”
Speaking at a youth meeting on Saturday, Abadi said Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters would take part in the offensive to win back Tal Afar.
He said the army and security commanders had devised a plan to dislodge Daesh from Tal Afar, which required participation of security personnel as well as Hashd al-Sha’abi and tribal fighters.
Violence leaves 241 Iraqis dead in July: UN
Meanwhile, the United Nations says some 250 people have lost their lives and hundreds others sustained injuries as a result of acts of terrorism and violence in Iraq in the month of July.
According to the latest figures released by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on Tuesday, the terror attacks claimed by the Daesh Takfiri militants claimed the lives of 241 Iraqis and left another 277 injured last month.
The worst-affected area, with the highest number of casualties was the northern province of Nineveh, where violence took the lives of 121 civilians and left 112 others wounded.
The capital province of Baghdad saw 38 deaths and 85 injuries. Thirty-three people also died and 49 others were wounded in Iraq’s embattled western eastern province of Anbar.
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jan Kubis has condemned Daesh’s terror attacks and called for the protection of civilians in imminent operations to recapture the remaining parts of the country from the scourge of Daesh.
“As we commend the Iraqi forces’ humanitarian concept of operations that has put civilian protection and assistance to IDPs at the center of the battle plan for Mosul, it is imperative that the protection of civilians continues to be the top priority in the conduct of military operations,” he said.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive there more than two years ago, and took control of portions of Iraqi territory.
Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units are engaged in joint operations to win back militant-held areas.