In the coming days, Iraqi counterterrorism forces are expected to assault the remaining ISIS stronghold in Tal Afar—roughly 40 miles west of Mosul—according to the commander of Iraq’s Joint Military Operations, Lieutenant General Abdel Amir Rashid Yarallah, who spoke to Iraqi media July 4.
“Tal Afar is the next point of liberation with the participation of all military units,” Yarallah said.
“The Turkmen-dominated city of Tal Afar is completely encircled by Turkmen Shia militia and Peshmerga forces,” the leader of the 10,000-man Turkmen Shia Popular Mobilization Forces told Free Beacon Sunday. Abu Retha al Najjar, who directs 2,500 fighters engaged in Tal Afar said that the Tal Afar has approximately 900 ISIS fighters left, of which 650 are local and 250 are foreign fighters. “The district of Tal Afar once held 350,000 Turkmen residents, including Shia and Sunni families, but only 30,000 civilians still live there, chiefly in the town of Maria,” Najjar said.
“Whether the next fight against ISIS is in Tal Afar, Al-Hawija, or Al-Qaim, the coalition will continue to support our Iraqi partners to defeat our common enemy,” said Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), speaking to defense reporters Thursday.