Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Resistance by Islamic State militants to al-Hashd al-Shaabi’s storming of the Mosul town of Tal Abta was supervised by the extremist group’s supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said a senior commander in the militia.
Jawad al-Tleibawi stated Thursday that Baghdadi “intervened personally to prevent the fall of Tal Abta.” He added that “liberating that region would represent a military conquer of 25 other villages surrounding Tal Afar , and tens of kilometers advance towards the town’s center.”
Al-Hashd sl-Shaabisaid Tuesday they recaptured the southern section of Tal Abta, the only remaining area to consummate a siege on the town of Tal Afar, a major ISIS stronghold and a vital spot on the group’s supply lines from Syria.
The militia’s media service said the victory came after intense fights with the extremist group that left a number of militants dead.
Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, which turned via a parliament vote last month from a voluntary popular militia to an Iraqi national force, has been actively fighting against ISIS by the side of the Iraqi government forces. The militia has been mostly active in the southwestern areas of Mosul since operations to retake the city launched in mid October. Government forces, meanwhile, are still struggling to liberate the eastern section of the city and have said they had become in control over at least 50 percent of that region.