Iraqi Forces Advance on IS-Held Tal Afar

Capturing Tal Afar would be an important milestone for Iraqi security forces

Video from Rudaw, the Kurdish news organization, showed * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/177073" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *military movements near the city on August 20, as federal police and Shia militias reported their operations getting underway.

On Saturday, Iraqi airplanes dropped leaflets over Tal Afar, telling residents that security forces were moving toward them, and that their city would soon be rid of the "evil" of the Islamic State.

"You either surrender, or die", Mr Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants.

"The coalition is strong, and fully committed to supporting our Iraqi partners until ISIS is defeated and the Iraqi people are free", he said.

Grande described the situation inside Tal Afar as "very tough", because food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities to survive, according to the statement by the United Nations office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"We have information about the presence of foreigners within ISIS ranks in Tal Afar, but we do not know their identity", Asadi pointed out.

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The operation comes six weeks after Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, was liberated.

Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilisation Forces] commanders said fighters had taken key hills surrounding the IS bastion, while others advanced into the town from the south.

Iraqi forces launched an operation to recapture the town of Tal Afar from ISIS.

The Iraqi forces killed 66 Islamic State (IS) militants, including suicide bombers, near the city of Mosul in Iraq, defence officials said. She added that conditions were very tough in the city, which had been cut off on all sides by Iraqi forces since March. "They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated", the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, said in a statement. The militias captured Tal Afar's airport, on the outskirts of the town, last year.

IS's self-proclaimed "caliphate" effectively collapsed with the fall of Mosul, but parts of Iraq and Syria remain under its control, especially in border areas. Iraqi forces claim that Isis members in the city are demoralised and worn out and are unlikely to put up the same resistance they did in Mosul.

He further said that more than 400,000 Turkmen, natives of Tal Afar, can not return to their homes because of the presence of Daesh in the city.

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