UPDATED: military media says Tal Afar recaptured by 100%

A tank of Iraqi army fires against Islamic State militants at Al Jazeera neighbourhood of Tal Afar, Iraq, August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Tal Afar ( Iraqi military media said Sunday government troops and allied paramilitary forces had retaken full control over Tal Afar, Islamic State’s last holdout in Nineveh province.

The War Media Cell, the Joint Operations Command’s media service, posted on its Facebook page a map of the enclave all covered with the colors of the Iraqi flag. “By God, it is victory…100% liberated,” read lines embedded with the map.

A few hours earlier, an Iraqi commander said Islamic State militants cornered in a region northwest of Tal Afar as Iraqi forces had retaken all areas at the town.

Sabah al-Noaman, a spokesman of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), told Dubai-based Al Arabiya network that the fighters are besieged in Ayadiya, northwest of the enclave.

Backing his statements minutes later, the Joint Operations Command said all districts of Tal Afar  had been retaken except for Atadiya region and a few surrounding villages at the northwest. It added that the army’s 15th and 16th division were heading towards that region.

On Saturday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said it recaptured 27 out of 29 neighborhoods in Tal Afar, with the forces controlling almost all of the town’s center.

The government declared the launch of Tal Afar operations on August 20th. Iraqi military commanders have reported daily advances and retaking of IS-held territory since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the launch of offensives on Sunday.

Past operations by the PMF had managed, until the end of June, to isolate Tal Afar from the Syrian borders and from the rest of Nineveh.

The United Nations says more than 30.000 were displaced as operations launched for the enclave.

After Tal Afar, the militants’ last holdout in Nineveh, the Iraqi government eyes the liberation of the few remaining havens in Kirkuk, Anbar and Salahuddin.


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