Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tal Afar Battle Day 10


The Iraqi forces (ISF) were still attempting to capture the Ayadiyah sub-district of Tal Afar. The Islamic State was putting up stubborn resistance leading the Iraqis to call in reinforcements. Originally, only the army’s 15th and 16th Divisions were involved. Now the army’s 9th Division, the Hashd, the Federal Police, the Rapid Reaction forces, and the Golden Division are all attacking Ayadiyah from three sides. It was reported they reached the center of the town itself, and controlled 50% of the area. According to people fleeing the fighting the militants took around 120 families with them as human shields as they retreated into the sub-district. The Iraqis are now claiming that the 2,000 IS elements they expected to find in Tal Afar retreated to Ayadiyah. Tal Afar itself was captured in just eight days. Ayadiyah may take a little longer due to the large number of militants defending it.

IS elements were trying to flee Ayadiyah at the same time. The Peshmerga have defensive positions to the north of the sub-district and continue to be attacked and round up insurgents. The Peshmerga claimed they killed 130 militants over the last three days. A female suicide bomber hiding amongst the displaced also blew herself up killing three civilians and wounding five Peshmerga. Besides north to Turkey, other IS elements are probably trying to reach the Syrian border as well. That area is under the control of the Hashd, but it is such a vast open space, there are probably routes open for the Islamists to take. The Kurds on the other hand, have tended to dig trenches making their lines more formidable.

Back in Tal Afar Turkmen Hashd were accused of abuses. There was a report that they were looting homes and government offices, as well as carrying out retaliatory attacks. These incidents have followed nearly every major battle in Iraq. Shiite and Sunni Turkmen in Tal Afar were especially divided by the insurgency and Shiite forces. The desire for revenge is always present, but perhaps more so in this case given the history of the community.

The United Nations confirmed what Musings On Iraq already reported about the number of civilians in Tal Afar. Before the battle started it was estimated that there were 10,000-40,000 in the area. The Iraqi government said 22,000 fled before the operation started, and another 20,000 afterward. Inside the town itself, there were only a few thousand people left by the time the Iraqi forces arrived there.

SOURCES

AIN, “Daash took 120 families as human shields in Ayadiyah,” 8/29/17

Al Baghdadiya News, "A female suicide bomber blew herself up against the Peshmerga forces near Tal Afar," 8/29/17
- “The joint forces storm the Ayadiyah area, the last stronghold in Ninewa,” 8/29/17

Hurriyet Daily, “ISIL resists outside Tal Afar: Iraq,” 8/29/17

Irakna News Portal, “Iraq .. mines impede progress in the vicinity of Tal Afar,” 8/29/17

Iraq Newspaper, “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Tal Afar: A Suicide Bomber Exploded Herself On The Peshmerga And Kills 3 And Injures Two,” 8/29/17

Khabaar, “Attacking Ayadiyah from three axes,” 8/29/17

Al Mada, “Daash leaders decided to withdraw from Tal Afar to Ayadiyah,” 8/29/17

New Sabah, “Incursion into the center of Ayadiyah area west of Tal Afar and the liberation of the government building after fierce fighting,” 8/29/17

Rasheed, Ahmed, “’Gates of Hell’: Iraqi army says fighting near Tal Afar worse than Mosul,” Reuters, 8/29/17

Rudaw, “Peshmerga kill 130 ISIS militants trying to flee from Tal Afar to Syria,” 8/29/17

Sulaivany, Karzan, “Iraqi troops face resistance in last push to drive IS militants out of Tal Afar,"

Al Sumaria, “The federal police announced it controlled 50% of Ayadiyah area,” 8/29/17

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “OCHA Iraq | Telafar Flash Update #2: Telafar Humanitarian Response, 29 August 2017,” 8/29/17

Wardana, “Federal Police incursion into southern Ayadiyah,” 8/29/17
- “Popular crowd forces liberate government building and gas station in Ayadiyah,” 8/29/17

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