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UPDATED: Hashd and Iraqi Army advance into first neighborhood inside Tal Afar

By Rudaw 22/8/2017


The Iraqi army's 11th Brigade and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries have cordoned off al-Askari neighborhood in eastern Tal Afar and are ready to launch an incursion into the neighborhood, stated the Hashd.
In the meantime, the Iraqi Defense Ministry's War Media Cell declared that the 11th Brigade and Hashd al-Shaabi forces have approached within 300 meters of Tal Afar’s center from the southeastern front.




ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - In the early hours of Tuesday, the Iraqi Army, together with Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries broke into the first neighborhood of the predominantly Turkmen town of Tal Afar west Mosul.

Hashd al-Shaabi media announced that their forces together with the Iraqi Army entered al-Kifah neighborhood in the northwestern part of the city. 

"The Popular Forces and the Federal Police continue to advance according to the security plans in Al-Kifah neighborhood, the first neighborhoods of Tal Afar from the northwest," read a statement from the Hashd.

The statement added that the Hashd forces were able to shatter the first defensive line of ISIS in al-Jazira area from the southern front towards Tal Afar’s center, adding that axis of advance was only 400 meters away from Tal Afar center. 

The Hashd forces also announced their troops have beseiged the industrial zone west of Tal Afar mid-Tuesday.

The advancing Iraqi troops have also entered al-Khadra neighborhood engaging in fierce fighting with ISIS militants, killing 10, and detonating a car bomb, according to the Hashd.

They said they progressed with the help of heavy air cover.

A Rudaw reporter covering developments on the ground near Tal Afar on Tuesday said the bulk of the villages retaken by the Iraqi army in the areas were already empty of residents and militants. 

He added that the Iraqi Army's 9th Division in a morning operation is moving towards the villages of Ashiq and Abu Haya east of Tal Afar. 


On Day 2 of the ‘We are Coming Tal Afar’ offensive, its commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, had declared the villages of Tal Rahal, Jabbara, Hussein Idris, Mullah and Majeed as being reclaimed from ISIS.

Monday evening, the Hashd al-Shaabi announced that Iraqi forces have come within 900 metres of western Tal Afar.

Also on Monday, the US-led coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted that Iraqi security forces had taken about 230 square kilometres of ground from ISIS in the past 24 hours.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the commencement of operations by security forces to retake the Tal Afar, which has a large Turkmen population as well as Arabs and Kurds.

The US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), Federal Police, the Rapid Response Force, Iraqi Army, and Hashd al-Shaabi are taking part in the operation with the backing of the coalition.

UNAMI stated more than 30,000 civilians have fled the area as of Sunday. An estimated 10,000 to 50,000 civilians are believed to still be living under ISIS control in Tal Afar and the surrounding areas, according to coalition figures.  

It has served as a key ISIS route between Iraq and Syria since 2014 and is the last major centre in northwestern Iraq still controlled by the terrorist group.


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