Iraq readies to retake another Daesh bastion

Author: AFPMon, 2017-08-14 19:04ID: 1502735985220490300BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials said Monday that preparations have been made for the battle to retake Tal Afar, a town held by Daesh between Mosul and the Syrian border.
Federal police chief Lt. Gen. Raed Shakir Jawdat said in a statement that “armored and elite units are headed for Tal Afar,” the main remaining stronghold of Daesh in northern Iraq.
The town is located 70 km west of Mosul, where the terror group declared its “caliphate” in 2014 before being ousted from the city in July.
The units, whose number has not been specified, were “regrouping in combat positions in preparation for the next battle, said the statement.
Joining them is the Hashed Al-Shaabi, a Shiite-dominated coalition of paramilitary units deployed since 2014 to halt the terrorist advance.
“Hashed Al-Shaabi commanders met on Saturday with army and police commanders to decide on the plan to free Tal Afar,” spokesman Ahmed Assadi told reporters.
The coalition, which includes Iran-backed militias, would take part “actively and on all fronts” in the battle for Tal Afar to be launched within days, he said.
Assadi did not give a date for the launch and said that only Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi could announce the beginning of military operations.
Daesh overran Tal Afar in June 2014, when it had a population of around 200,000.
Tal Afar is surrounded by Hashed Al-Shaabi and cut off from Mosul in the east and the Syrian border to the north and west.
The town was a Shiite-majority enclave in the mostly Sunni area with an overwhelmingly Turkmen population before its capture by Daesh.
The terrorists still hold Hawija, in the province of Kirkuk, 300 km north of Baghdad.
But any military offensive in Hawija is expected to be postponed due to an upcoming planned referendum on Kurdish independence.
Daesh is also still present in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, including the Al-Qaim area on the border with war-ravaged Syria.
Main category: Middle-EastTags: Daesh bastionIraqBaghdadTal Afarrelated_nodes: Cities, towns and territory retaken from Daesh gripDaesh propaganda team killed in Iraq air strike, coalition saysFacing defeat in Mosul, Daesh mounts diversionary attack to the south

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