Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi command leading the war against Islamic State militants in Mosul will aim at the town of Tal Afar as a next stage, while officials say 750 fighters remain in the city.
Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri, a top commander of Mosul operations, told state-run paper al-Sabah on Thursday that Iraqi troops’ next target after Mosul will be the town of Tal Afar, an Islamic State stronghold near the Syrian borders.
“The army will join forces with al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) to liberate what is left of the province, especially Tal Afar, the main haven for Daesh (Islamic State) leaders,” Jubouri told the newspaper.
He also pointed to ongoing operations to retake Qairawan, Baaj and Adnaniya, all near Tal Afar.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Tuesday its forces took over 89.5 percent of territories in western Mosul, adding it had killed more than 16000 militants since the launch of Mosul operations in October.
Meanwhile, Abdul-Sattar Habbu, an adviser for the Nineveh province council, said there are currently 750 Islamic State militants remaining in Mosul, adding that those are concentrated in al-Farouq, Zanjili and the Old City.
“Security forces are besieging those mostly foreign criminals as most of the leaders had fled, leaving those elements to death or captivity,” Habbu said.