Iraqi forces seize most of Tal Afar from Islamic State

Members of Iraqi Shiite militia Imam Abbas Brigades take rest during a training exercise on August 14. On Saturday troops who are part of a concerted effort to rid the city of Tal Afar of Islamic State troops claimed control of 60 percent of the battlefield and 90 percent of the city center. Photo by Hider Abbas/EPA.

Aug. 27 (UPI) — Iraqi forces have reclaimed a majority of the Islamic State controlled city of Tal Afar as part of a weeklong offensive.

Iraqi Joint Military Command spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said Saturday joint troops controlled 60 percent of the battlefield and 90 percent of the city center of Tal Afar in the northwestern Nineveh province.

Troops liberated al-Qadisiya, al-Rabei and al-Salam and al-Bawari, as well as the central areas of the Citadel and al-Basateen, where they raised the Iraqi flag.

Also on Saturday, paramilitary troops seized the Islamic State’s largest telecommunications tower and burned it completely to hide information.

The offensive began on Sunday as troops worked to reclaim the last remaining IS enclave in the province after the fall of Mosul.

Nearly 500 families fled the city into Syria prior to the start of the battle as about 40,000 troops, including those of the Iraqi military, U.S.-led special forces and paramilitary soldiers of the Hasd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization, took part in the mission.

Following the advance on Saturday, only a small area in the north of the city remains under IS control, according to a map released by the Iraqi Joint Military Command.


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