Iraqi forces recapture ’70 percent’ of Tal Afar from ISIS militants

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Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says government forces have recaptured 70 percent of Tal Afar, a stronghold of Islami State (ISIS) militants in northwestern Iraq.

Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar’s Al-Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from Islamic State militants on Aug. 24. / Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP

“God willing, the remaining part will be liberated soon,” Jaafari said at a news conference in Baghdad on Aug. 26.

Gen. Abdulamir Yarallah, the commander leading the offensive to retake Tal Afar, said in a statement on Aug. 26 that government troops had recaptured the city’s center and its citadel.

Iraqi troops backed by a U.S.-led international coalition dislodged IS from Mosul last month after a nine-month fight for Iraq’s second city.

They launched an offensive August 20 to recapture Tal Afar, once a key IS supply hub between Mosul — around 70 kilometers further east — and the Syrian border to the west.

ISIS fighters inside Tal Afar are estimated to number around 1,000.