Published: Mon, August 28, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar center, citadel from Daesh

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar center, citadel from Daesh

"On the [Tal Afar] city plan, nothing is left [seized by terrorists], the cleanup is underway", Jubouri said.

Iraq launched the operation to retake Tal Afar on Sunday, a month after it declared the northern city of Mosul, its second largest, to be fully liberated.

The commander for the operation, Lt. Gen. Abdulmanir Yarallah, said only one enclave northwest of the city center remained under ISIS control.

The drive from Tal Afar to Syria is only two hours, and the city could be the location of ethnic and sectarian combat after IS forces are driven out, the BBC said.

Residents who fled Tal Afar days before the start of the offensive told Reuters some of the militants looked "exhausted" and "depleted".

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said medical workers should travel to areas around the battle for Tal Afar to help "to treat the wounded and treat them as a humanitarian, national and religious duty".

Separately, Iraqi army troops liberated eight villages in the southeast of Tal Afar.

The extremist group has lost much of the territory it controlled and thousands of its fighters have been killed since late 2014, when the US-led worldwide coalition was set up to defeat the group.

IS jihadists in June 2014 overran Tal Afar, a Shiite enclave in the predominantly Sunni province of Nineveh.

With a mostly Shia-Muslim population, Tal Afar is surrounded by government troops and Shia militiamen in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman of the USA -led coalition, told reporters ISIS fighters were "completely surrounded" in Tal Afar with their resources drying out, as their defeat nears.

The offensive on Tal Afar, which lies on the supply route between Syria and the former ISIS stronghold of Mosul, started on Aug 20.

ISIL's biggest defeat was in Mosul, where about 30,000 Iraqi forces backed by US -led air support launched a vast operation in October.

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