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Iraqi Forces Say They Have Broken through Islamic State Lines in Tal Afar

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2017-08-27 - 7:46 am

Bahrain Mirror (Reuters): Iraqi government forces broke through Islamic State's lines inside Tal Afar on Friday, reaching the old city center and the neighborhood around the Ottoman-era citadel, according to a military statement.

On the sixth day of the offensive, elite Iraqi units seized the northern neighborhoods of Nida', Taliaa, Uruba, Nasr, and Saad, according to a statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC).

The Iraqi forces have seized about three quarters of the city since the offensive started in the early hours of Aug. 20, according to the latest JOC map, published on Friday evening. The militants remain in control of the northeast quarter.
Tal Afar lies on the supply route between Syria and the former Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, 80 km (50 miles) to the east. It has produced some of the militant group's most senior commanders.

Tal Afar was cut off from the rest of IS-held territory in June and the campaign to recapture it started on Aug. 20, when up to 2,000 militants were believed to be defending it against around 50,000 attackers, according to western military sources.

The fall of Mosul effectively marked the end of the self-proclaimed caliphate Islamic State declared over parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014. Tal Afar was cut off from the rest of IS-held territory in June.

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