Iraqi Forces Begin Battle To Retake Tal Afar From IS

Casey Dawson
August 20, 2017

Senior U.S. commanders say Iraqi forces are largely set for their next major campaign against Islamic State extremists.

The Norwegian Refuguee Council said on Saturday that refugees near the northern city of Tal Afar were faced with harsh conditions, and were stopped by authorities in east of Mosul and Kurdish areas as they tried to flee the fighting.

An estimated 1,400 troops Iraqi were killed and 7,000 wounded in the battle to liberate Mosul, which had been under IS control since the militants captured wide swathes of territory from government forces in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

"In the last 48 hours, they've picked up that activity and destroyed a number of ISIL targets", Bin Javaid said.

Iraqi Shiite fighters from the Hashed al Shaabi  paramilitaries advance in a desert area near the village of Tall Abtah southwest of Mosul. in November 2016

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the commencement of a major offensive to liberate the northern city of Tal Afar from the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The latest attack comes as Iraqi war planes pound IS positions in preparation for a ground assault on the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. "Iraqi infantry men advanced beside the bulldozers, shooting and throwing grenades at Daesh fighters popping up out of the rubble".

Assuring that the US-led coalition forces will buttress the ground offensive, he told the Iraqi security forces: "The whole world is with you". He was ensuring United States military advisory teams are with the right local units to provide the best support, intelligence gathering, surveillance and advice.

Al-Abadi says IS fighters inside the town have "no option" but to surrender or die. The fight will involve a broad spectrum of forces, including the Iraqi Army, counterterrorism troops, police and a group of mainly Shiite, Iranian-backed militias. Many are foreigners, he said. The city of Tal Afar is making ready to join other liberated areas as the heroes are being prepared to make sacrifices and exert efforts to liberate this steadfast city....

Hezbollah says begun assault on IS Lebanon border pocket from Syria
A ceasefire was announced after six days of severe fighting which led to evacuation of 8000 refugees and jihadists. Lebanon denies it is coordinating its offensive with the Syrian government.

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