Iraq launches ground offensive against Islamic State in Tel Afar

by Abel Hampton August 21, 2017, 3:42
Iraq launches ground offensive against Islamic State in Tel Afar

Abadi in a televised speech said warned the terrorists saying they had two choices - surrender or die.

Iraqi security forces on Sunday launched a new operation to liberate Tal Afar from Islamic State (IS) militants, the Iraqi military said.

Iraqi forces have driven IS from most of the major towns and cities seized by the militants in the summer of 2014, including Mosul, which was retaken after a grueling nine-month campaign.

The troops of three army divisions advanced from the east and the north of Tal Afar, and the CTS commandos advanced from the south, while the federal police and the Hashd Shaabi units initiated a progress from the west of the town, Jubouri said.

Though the battle-hardened Islamists in Tal Afar are already reported to be weakened by repeated air strikes, this will also be a major challenge for the Iraqi security establishment, trained by the US' elite forces after heavy losses in Mosul.

Townsend said the US-led coalition was providing Iraqi security forces with "equipment, training, intelligence, precision fires and combat advice" in the campaign.

He addressed the nation in a TV broadcast: "The city of Tal Afar will be liberated and will join all the liberated cities".

"As long as ISIL is present in Tal Afar, its ability to transfer men, weapons, and supplies to and from Syria is unhindered - and that is important for ISIS should it wish to pose a credible threat to Iraq". "The US military will take part in this operation and they will work together with the Iraqi army", Maruf said.

The city was cut off from the rest of Islamic State-held territory in June. The AR is also always present in the western province of Al-Anbar, especially in the desert region of Al-Qaïm border of Syria.

"Food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities to survive". However, after the ISIS gained control large Shiite populations massacred or were forced to leave the town.

The latest attack comes as Iraqi war planes pound IS positions in preparation for a ground assault on the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul.

Though there are no clear population figures for the city (estimates range from 10,000 to 50,000, according to coalition planners), Grande expected thousands more would risk a 10- to 20-hour trek in scorching summer heat on their way to safety.

Many civilians have fled the city in recent weeks however many remain trapped, unable to escape.

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