Al-Hashd al-Shaabi commence phase 5 of Tal Afar onslaught

Al-Hashd al-Sha'bi during operations in Tal Afar.
Al-Hashd al-Sha’bi during operations in Tal Afar.

Nineveh – ( Al-Hashd al-Sha’bi popular militias announced Friday the beginning of a fifth decisive phase of its advancement towards the strategic, Islamic-State-held town of Tal Afar, Nineveh.

The militia’s media service said Friday it had liberated the village of al-Aazal, west of Mosul, as operations launched.

The latest phase, which concluded on Wednesday, had seen the mostly-Shia militia consummating a siege on the city and liberating several villages on its outskirts after taking control of its vital military airport. Its commanders said the fifth phase would see the troops advancing further towards the center of Tal Afar.

A spokesperson for Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, a component of al-Hashed al-Sha’bi, said in a statement that the current stage of operations are specifically targeting the Tal Abta neighborhood. He said his troops had managed to take over the villages of Um Nekheila and Toffaha as operations proceeded.

Tal Afar has been a concern for Turkey which had said it feared that Shia paramilitary forces engaged in combat, most notably al-Hashed al-Shaabi, could carry out retaliatory measures against Sunni Turkmen residents of the town.
Turkey has demanded the government in Baghdad to ensure that the militias stop at the siege on Tal Afar airport.

The takeover of Tal Afar airport represents a major victory for the militias as it stands as a vital step towards the liberation of the whole town and cutting the last ISIS supply corridor to Syria.

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