iraqi forces begin operation to retake tal afar
Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Last Updated : GMT 05:17:37
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Iraqi forces begin operation to retake Tal Afar

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Iraqi forces begin operation to retake Tal Afar

Popular Mobilization Units fighters ride on the back of a truck on their way to fight against militants
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

The operation to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, from the Daesh group began on Sunday morning, Iraq's prime minister said.

Tal Afar and the surrounding area is one of the last pockets of Daesh-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in July in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. The town, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Syrian border, sits along a major road that was once a key Daesh supply route.

"The city of Tal Afar will be liberated and will join all the liberated cities," Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said in an address to the nation broadcast on state television early Sunday.

Al Abadi said his message to Daesh was: "You either surrender or die."

Iraq's militiamen largely stayed out of the operation to retake Mosul, but have vowed to play a bigger role in the battle for Tal Afar. The militias captured Tal Afar's airport, on the outskirts of the town, last year.

Their participation in the coming offensive could heighten sectarian and regional tensions. The town's ethnic Turkmen community maintained close ties to neighboring Turkey.

A stepped up campaign of airstrikes and a troop buildup has already forced tens of thousands to flee Tal Afar, threatening to compound a humanitarian crisis sparked by the Mosul operation.

Some 49,000 people have fled the Tal Afar district since April, according to the United Nations. Nearly a million people remain displaced by the nine-month campaign to retake Mosul.

Source: Khaleej Times

 

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