Commander: Iraqi Popular Forces Not to Participate in Tal Afar Battle If Accompanied by US Warplanes
“The Hashd al-Shaabi forces will not participate in Tal Afar battle if the US fighter jets cover them,” Javad al-Talibawi said on Saturday.
He added that the Iraqi popular forces and the US cannot cooperate with each other under any circumstances.
A commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, locally known as Hashd al-Shaabi, announced on Thursday that the PMF forces have completed their last preparations for an offensive to liberate Tal Afar, a strategically important town 60 kilometers to the West of Mosul, one of the last large strongholds controlled by ISIL.
“The Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi units have completed their last preparations for the operation. We are waiting for the command of Iraq’s Commander-in–Chief Haider al-Abadi to launch the offensive. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Forces won’t take part in the operation. Iraq’s government army will provide aerial support for the operation,” said Ali Hasim Huseyni.
Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), commonly known as the Golden Division, which took an active part in the liberation of Mosul, will also play a key role in the liberation of Tal Afar.
The commander explained that Tal Afar remains one of the last large ISIL strongholds in Iraq. There are hundreds of terrorists there, predominantly natives of Iraq. The liberation of Tal Afar will signify a large victory in the fight against terrorism.
Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news channel reported that 10 US fighter jets which carried military equipment and weapons landed in Kahriz airbase in Western Mosul.
Tal Afar is also a strategically important city, as it is located 63 kilometers to the west of Mosul, 52 km to the East of Sinjar, as is not far from the border with Syria.
Tal Afar has been ISIL Daesh control since mid-2014, when the terrorists captured the town. Before the seizure, it was home to 750,000 people. Many civilians still reside in the city.