Friday, 06 December, 2019

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar centre, citadel from IS

Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar's Al Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from the ISIS group Iraq recaptures Tal Afar centre, citadel from IS
Christy Curtis | 27 August, 2017, 01:05

Iraqi forces and pro-government paramilitary units said Friday their sights are on the jihadist-held citadel in the centre of Tal Afar after recapturing several districts from the Islamist State group.

Rasool added that their forces have killed almost 300 jihadists, but around 2,000 militants still remained in the city, according to Al Jazeera.

Khaled al-Obaidi, the head of Nineveh provincial department of the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, told al-Ghad Press news agency that 10,000 people had fled Tal Afar to refugee camps south of Mosul.

Tal Afar and the surrounding area are among the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in Mosul, the country's second-largest city.

Iraqi forces have now seized control of most of the strategically significant city of Tal Afar from ISIS, the Iraqi Joint Military Command said Saturday.

Qatar sends ambassador back to Iran, angers Bahrain, UAE
He said Qatar's decision to restore full diplomatic relations with Iran was accompanied by a "confused justification". Qatar and Iran share a massive offshore natural gas field that requires communication between the countries.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly, who arrived in the Iraqi capital on Friday evening, were scheduled to meet Abadi.

Iraqi forces have broken through ISIL's defences inside the northern city of Tal Afar and reached the city centre, a major gain in the battle for the armed group's last urban stronghold.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman of the USA -led coalition, told reporters ISIS fighters were "completely surrounded" in Tal Afar with their resources drying out, as their defeat nears.

The city, which had a pre-war population of about 200,000, lies on the supply route between Syria and Mosul, 80 km (50 miles) to the east.

On Monday, Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said more than 30,000 people had already fled the city and surrounding areas.

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