VIDEO: Iraqi security forces retake four neighborhoods in Tal Afar
Iraqi government forces have liberated four districts in Tal Afar as they are engaged in a major ground operation to liberate the northern city from the grip of Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat said on Sunday that security forces, backed by members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) and fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), have reclaimed Abra al-Najjar, Abra Hanish, Greater Abra and Lesser Abra, Arabic-language Baghdad Today news website reported.
Meanwhile, Commander of Tal Afar Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah stated that security forces have recaptured the villages of Batisha, al-Alam, Khafajah, Upper Halabiya, and Marazif east of Tal Afar, and the villages of Qazal Qiyu and Kasr Mihrab southwest of the city.
Additionally, Spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC), Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, said it is estimated that 1,400 Daesh terrorists, mostly Arab and foreign nationals, have holed up in Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
He added that security forces have opened a safe exit route for civilians, stressing that security forces have tightened the noose around Daesh Takfiris to prevent them from fleeing into the Syrian territory.
Earlier, al-Forat news agency reported that 12 brigades from PMU forces, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, have participated in the fight to dislodge the Daesh terrorist group from Tal Afar.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of a ground offensive to retake Daesh-held Tal Afar in a televised speech early on Sunday.
“You either surrender, or die,” Abadi addressed Daesh terrorists, who have been in control of the city since 2014.
Tal Afar and the surrounding area are among the last pockets of Daesh-controlled territory in Iraq, after the country’s second-largest city of Mosul.
On July 10, Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which had served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.