Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi news reports said Saturday that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in the town of Tal Afar as operations against Islamic State militants there approach their end.
A number of Iraqi news websites reported Abadi’s arrival to the Joint Operations Command’s headquarter in Tal Afar. His office has yet to officially confirm the reports.
The news come as the JOC declared a few hours earlier the recapture of more than a half of the enclave, with 16 out of 28 districts falling in the grip of government troops, and the militant’s defense lines around the town’s center breaking down.
On Saturday, the Popular Mobilization Forces media said a prison run by IS was found in al-Saad district, northwest of the town, containing the dead bodies of 18 people presumably executed by the group. A spokesperson of the Counter-Terrorism Service, Sabah al-Noaman, was also quoted saying troops had raised Iraqi flags above the town’s ancient citadel.
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.