Iraqi security forces retake four neighborhoods in Tal Afar

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that security forces had driven tanks into the insurgent stronghold and had started to eject numerous 2,000 militants remaining in the city.

Addressing the militants, the Prime Minister, who is also the head of the country's armed forces, said they have no option but to "surrender or die".

A longtime stronghold of Daesh, Tal Afar - 50 miles (80 kilometres) west of Mosul - was cut-off from the rest of the Daesh-held territory in June.

The Tal Afar counter-offensive is expected to be one of the bloodiest as the 1,000-odd estimated Isis fighters have nowhere to flee with the city being encircled by Kurdish and Iraqi forces.

As each time the assault is launched by the iraqi forces, supported by the worldwide coalition, anti-jihadists, M. Abadi, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, spoke at the television, dressed in a military uniform black.

"Mosul was a decisive victory for the Iraqi Security Forces, but it did not mark the end of [IS] in Iraq, or its worldwide threat".


Hours before Mr Abadi's announcement, the Iraqi air force dropped leaflets over the city telling the population to take precautions. The Islamic State either drove out or massacred the town's Shiite population, drawing vows of revenge from the mostly Shiite militias that had been tasked with surrounding Tal Afar in November while the battle for Mosul kicked off. The US-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria welcomed the start of the offensive and pledged support to Iraqi forces involved.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) says thousands of pro-government fighters are going to participate in the operation to retake Tal Afar.

He further said that smaller number of militias such as Hasd Al-Shaabi and a larger number of members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party are set to participate in the liberation of Tal Afar together with the U.S. forces.

"In preparation for the operation for the liberation of Tal Afar, the United States is creating a military base near the city".

All these forces were backed by the Iraqi Air Force and the US-led worldwide coalition.


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