Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi force continued Wednesday to recapture more areas held by Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Afar, their last holdout in Nineveh province.
The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell quoted operations commander, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, saying forces took over al-Asheq village, besides the Kasak-Mahalabiya road in the east.
Military media also said three other villages, as well as a mountainous area called Sheikh Ibrahim, were also recaptured.
Popular Mobilization Forces, the paramilitary troops fighting the militants alongside the government, said through their media that troops took over 75 percent of al-Jazeera region, southeast of the enclave.
Military media said earlier forces had recaptured al-Tenek neighborhood in the east.
Iraqi troops resume operations for the fourth day after Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abadi announced on Sunday in a televised speech the beginning of offensive to recapture Tal Afar, which has been held by the militants since 2014, when the extremist group first emerged to proclaim its self-styled ‘caliphate’. This came after 40 days of declaring victory in Mosul, the group’s former capital, where operations lasted between October to July.
Security forces made advance on Wednesday in several directions in Tal Afar town, invading al-Tenek district, east of the town, gaining control on the medical center there and invading al-Jazeera district, in the northeast. Al-Khadraa district, in the south, was invaded, while wide regions of al-Kifah al-Shamali, in the northwest, were previously freed.
More than 1400 Islamic State militants with Arab and foreign nationalities are estimated to be in the town, according to military commanders.
The United Nations says more than 40.000 civilians have fled the town, while 30.000 others are believed to be still stranded inside.