Baghdad, September 1: Finally! Iraqi fighters have reclaimed the entire province strategic Tal Afar after defeating Islamic State militants. At least 200 Islamic State terrorists were killed in the southwestern direction of Tal Afar while 200 others were arrested by the Iraqi troops who were hiding among the displaced civilians in the north east.
As soon as the Iraqi PM declared that Tal Afar is liberated from ISIS, United States congratulated Iraqi forces on rapid victory. The US State Department tweeted, “Congratulations to Iraqi forces on rapid victory in #TalAfar. #ISIS has now lost 90% of the territory it once controlled in #Iraq. Soon, 100%.”
Notably, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi on Friday declared victory over Islamic State militants in Tal Afar and the entire province of Nineveh despite continued fighting in the small town of al-'Ayadiya. However, Tal Afaris liberated after the Mosul was freed.
“Tal Afar has been liberated,” Abadi said in a statement. “We say to the Islamic State fighters: wherever you are, we are coming for you, and you have no choice but to surrender or die.” The defeat in Mosul, Nineveh’s provincial capital, marked the latest in a string of territorial losses for the Islamic State group. However, the terrorists still control areas on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Interestingly, Tal Afar had become the next target of the US-backed war on the terrorist group following the capture of Mosul, where it had declared its caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Iraqi forces had been waiting to clear al-'Ayadiya, 11 km northwest of Tal Afar, before declaring complete victory in the offensive. Islamic State militants had retreated to the town.
Iraqi forces launched the operation three months before after reclaiming Mosul city from ISIS. The Iraqi forces were backed by a US-led international coalition carrying out a campaign of air strikes against IS. During the intense battle between Iraqi forces and ISIS, more than 30,000 civilians were displaced and thousands other were used as a shield.