wnol.info March 23 2018

Iraqi Forces Retake Tal Afar

March 23 2018, 01:31 | Irvin Gilbert

Iraqi Forces Retake Tal Afar

Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar's Al Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from the ISIS group

Earlier in the day, members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) liberated the neighborhood of al-Qal'a and Tal Afar Citadel in the center of the city and raised the Iraqi flags over a number of buildings in the area.

Tal Afar is the latest objective in the Arab country's war on the terror group following the recapture of Mosul after a nine-month campaign.

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.

"God willing, the remaining part will be liberated soon", he said during a news conference on Saturday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defense Minister Florence Parly in Baghdad.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Command, said they brought the battle closer to central Tal Afar in the past 48 hours.

On Monday, Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that more than 30,000 people had already fled the city and surrounding areas.

The minister noted that Tal Afar's liberation would not put an end to the ISIL threat and called for further efforts in combating the terrorist group. The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported it received more than 3,000 civilians in the first days of the offensive with thousands more expected to flee.

It experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites after the USA -led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has produced some of Islamic State's most senior commanders.

Between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians are estimated to remain in the city and its surrounding villages.

People are arriving at camps for displaced people with wounds from sniper fire and mine explosions.

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