Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced on Thursday the complete liberation of the city of Tal Afar and the whole territory of the Nineveh Province from Daesh terrorists.
Tal Afar, a strategically important city in the northwestern Iraqi province of Nineveh, which is located near the border with Syria, was liberated after being held by Daesh for some three years, Abadi said as cited by a local TV channel. After the fall of Mosul in July, Tal Afar became Daesh's last stronghold in the war-plagued country.
“The province of Nineveh is fully under control of our heroic forces. I state that Tal Afar is joining the liberated city of Mosul and returned to its homeland. In recent days, Islamic State terrorists were destroyed there,” Abadi said in a statement.
The news comes after Iraqi military announced on Saturday it had liberated Tal Afar and its neighborhoods except for the Askari district. It was noted that since Saturday the forces have been advancing to the area of Aayaziyah some 7 miles from Tal Afar, which remained under the control of Daesh.
The Iraqi government forces' operation to retake the city was kicked off on August 20. About 40,000 Iraqi servicemen and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) fighters were taking part in the operation, according to a local militia commander.
Tal Afar was seized by militants in 2014. Before the seizure, it was home to 750,000 people.