Iraqi army launches determined attack on Isis stronghold of Tal Afar

  • Iraqi army launches determined attack on Isis stronghold of Tal Afar

Iraqi army launches determined attack on Isis stronghold of Tal Afar

Iraq launched a ground operation to retake Tal Afar, one of the last cities in the country held by the Islamic State group, the nation's leader said Sunday.

"I am saying to Daesh (Arabic acronym for IS) that there is no other option than to surrender or be killed", Abadi said in his speech.

On August 18, senior US military leaders said the Iraqi forces were preparing to launch the drive on Tal Afar after completing the bloody nine-month battle to force IS from the major northern city of Mosul.

"We have won all our battles, and Daesh have always lost", he said, telling the country's troops that "the entire world is with you".

Before Islamic State militants claimed it in June 2014, Tal Afar was an ethnically diverse town where Shiites and Sunnis lived.

Around 2,000 IS militants are holed up in the city and with no escape they are expected to put up stiff resistance to the Iraqi forces' advance.

USA commanders say Tal Afar's complicated geography, with ridge lines around city that could provide shooting positions for Islamic State fighters, will heighten the need for overhead imagery, and the ability strike.

Iraqi police have been photographed in the Old City of Mosul celebrating with a captured ISIS flag as their part in the battle to reclaim the city is completed.

The Qaida splinter group still controls territory in Iraq, including areas south and west of Mosul.

"The coalition is strong, and fully committed to supporting our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated and the Iraqi people are free".

Government forces in iraq, supported by air strikes of the coalition led by the United States and the "units of popular mobilization", a paramilitary organization dominated by the shiite militias supported by Iran, have since largely recovered.

The main forces taking part in the offensive are the Iraqi army, air force, Federal Police, and the elite US-trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS).

Some 49,000 people have fled the Tal Afar district since April, according to the UN. Even before Abadi's announcement, Iraqi planes had dropped leaflets to residents in Tal Afar and its surroundings, the Hashed said in a statement.

Tal Afar is a town located in around 43 miles west of Mosul which was the center of all activities of ISIS, according to reports.