Iraq announces Tal Afar victory

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, September 1, 2017
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Iraq declared on Thursday that its forces had retaken the northern city of Tal Afar and the surrounding region in another major victory over Daesh group extremists.

Daesh, which seized nearly a third of Iraq in 2014 in a stunning defeat for the army, now controls just 10 per cent of the country, according to the US-led international coalition against the extremists.

The fall of Tal Afar, located in the northern province of Nineveh, deprives Daesh of what was once a key supply hub between its territory in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

After a 12-day battle by Iraqi forces backed by coalition air strikes and paramilitary fighters, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced that Tal Afar had “regained its place in the national territory.”

He vowed to liberate “every inch of Iraqi territory” from the group.

“We say to the criminals of Daesh: wherever you are, we’re coming to liberate it and you have no choice but to die or surrender,” Abadi said.

The full recapture of Nineveh province comes weeks after coalition-backed Iraqi forces ousted the Daesh from the provincial capital Mosul, three years after the Daesh declared a self-styled “caliphate” straddling Iraq and war-torn Syria.

Daesh has lost much of the territory it controlled in the two countries and thousands of its fighters have been killed since late 2014, when the coalition was set up to defeat the group.

But the extremist group continues to claim attacks in the Middle East and Europe.

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