Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tal Afar Battle Day 7

Red area remaining neighborhoods under Islamic State control

By the seventh day of the Tal Afar campaign the fighting was nearly over. By the middle of the day the Tal Afar We Are Coming command said that 75% of the town was under government control. That went up to 90% by night time. The three thrusts into the town cleared the remaining neighborhoods in the middle, and then moved to the eastern end of Tal Afar. Along the way they took Muthanna 1, Muthanna 2, Arabiya 2, Bouari, Urouba, Salam, Qadisiyah 1, Qadisiya 2, Rabia, and the citadel in the center. Most of the combat appeared to be done by the Federal Police and 9th Division along with the 2nd and 11th Hashd Brigades. Just two neighborhoods at the eastern tip of the town remained in Islamic State hands. The Iraqis and U.S. originally estimated 1,000-2,000 militants were in Tal Afar. That now looks overblown as only a few hundred have been reported killed. Of course, given Iraqi propensity to exaggerate that figure will likely go way up later on. Tal Afar was originally surrounded at the end of 2016. The cordon did not appear to be particularly done well as the Hashd continuously said it was cutting off the last route to Syria. It was said to be surrounded again about a month ago. That gave the insurgents plenty of time to leave. It seems most did, leaving behind only a small holding force.

During the day, a mass grave was discovered inside Tal Afar. It contained the bodies of around 80 civilians and members of the security forces who were executed by the Islamists.

Outside of Tal Afar, several villages remained under IS control. The Iraqi forces were mopping those up those as well. 8 towns were taken during the day by the 16th Division and the Hashd. That leaves 7 more to be freed.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi arrived in the district. He’ll likely be able to declare victory by tomorrow. This has been a quick and efficient battle with an overwhelming force defeating a rather small insurgent group.


AIN, “Tal Afar: Only 500 km left from the announcement of its full liberation,” 8/26/17
- “URGENT Tal Afar We Are Coming announces the liberation of the 1st Muthanna district,” 8/26/17

Associated Press, “Iraq Says 90 Percent of Tal Afar Retaken From IS,” 8/26/17

Baghdad Post, “80 bodies uncovered in mass grave in Tal Afar,” 8/26/17

Bas News, “Iraqi Forces Retake Three Villages South-west Tal Afar,” 8/26/17

BBC, “Tal Afar battle: Iraqi forces ‘dealing with final IS pockets,’” 8/26/17

Iraqi Broadcasting Networks, “Security Forces And The Popular Crowd Liberate The Second Muthanna District And Control The Tal Afar Hospital,” 8/26/17

Al Mada, “Daash collapses on the seventh day of the Tal Afar operation,” 8/26/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “PM Abadi arrives in Tal Afar as battle nears end: reports,” Iraqi News, 8/26/17

Rudaw, “UPDATED: Iraqi forces take citadel, clear 5 more districts in Tal Afar,” 8/26/17

Shafaaq News, “Iraqi forces continue to advance and reclaim neighborhoods in Tal Afar amid continuing fighting,” 8/26/17

Al-Sudani, Thaier and Omar, Kawa, “Islamic State stronghold Tal Afar about to fall, says Iraqi military,” Reuters, 8/26/17

Sulaivany, Karzan, “Only 5 percent of Tal Afar remains under IS control: Iraqi army,” Kurdistan 24, 8/26/17

Watan News, “Yarallah announces to Watan News the liberation of 75% of the Tal Afar district,” 8/26/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces liberate most of Tal Afar from IS,” 8/26/17

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