Iraqi TV Cameraman Killed by Militants While Covering Tal Afar Offensive

Monday, 28 Aug, 2017

"On the [Tal Afar] city plan, nothing is left [seized by terrorists], the cleanup is underway", Jubouri said.

Following six days of intense battles, Iraqi forces announced a successful recapturing of 70% of Tal Afar, which was in the hands of ISIS forces and was the terrorist organization's last stronghold in Northern Iraq.

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.

"The remaining parts will also be freed shortly", said Iraq's Foreign Minister.

Gen Yarallah, who is in charge the latest offensive, said his forces were now dealing with the final pockets of jihadi resistance in Tal Afar.

Almost 500 families fled the city into Syria prior to the start of the battle, Nashwan Ibrahim of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces said.

Tal Afar has experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has produced some of ISIS' most senior commanders.

Up to 2,000 militants were believed to be defending Tal Afar when the campaign to take back the city started on August 20.

Iraqi and Syrian forces have advanced against the extremist group on a number of fronts in recent months with the help of a US -led coalition. The attacking troops are estimated to be around 50,000 strong.

About the French role in the current military operation in Tal Afar, al-Jaafari said: "France has provided logistic and aerial support in the battles against Daesh".

Those who flee through desert areas face soaring temperatures for long periods, putting them at risk of dehydration, said Viren Falcao of the Danish Refugee Council.

Control over Tal Afar is seen as particularly vital for ISIS, as it's at the crossroads of some key roads leading west toward Syria.