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Iraqi Forces Completely Surround IS in Tal Afar

Iraqi Forces Completely Surround IS in Tal AfarIraqi Forces Completely Surround IS in Tal Afar

Iraqi forces have “completely surrounded” fighters with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in the northern city of Tal Afar, according Iraqi and US officials.

“The enemy is completely surrounded,” Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition against IS, said on Thursday in a joint press conference with Iraqi spokesman Yahya Rasool, Al Jazeera reported.

Iraqi forces had been making gains in their battle to retake the key area from IS since announcing the start of the ground offensive on Sunday.

Dillon said IS fighters were being deprived of their resources and at the “cusp of yet another defeat”.

Rasool said around 2,000 IS fighters remain in the city. He added that about 300 fighters had been killed.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described the progress in Tal Afar as “excellent”, calling it an “indication of the enemy’s collapse”.

Tal Afar and the surrounding area are among the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq after victory was declared in Mosul, the country’s second-largest city.

The city is located some 70 km west of Mosul and about 150 km east of the Syrian border, sitting along a major road that was a key IS supply route.

The town had a population of about 200,000 before it fell to IS in 2014.

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

“Food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities to survive,” she said.

The Iraqi Army said it believes some 10,000 civilians remain inside the city, adding that it had secured safe corridors for them.

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