ERBIL (Sputnik) — Tal Afar is the last Daesh stronghold on the border between Syria and Iraq, located to the west of recently liberated Mosul. The PMF, a state-sponsored militia organization, has been operating near Tal Afar since October 2016, liberating strategic sites and villages to clear the way to the city.
"The liberation of Tal Afar means an exit to the Syrian border and the closure of the road for the IS. This region will become absolutely safe. Moreover, it will be an end for the IS [Daesh] in the military aspect, a new phase will begin," Abu Reed al-Najjar said.
The commander added that the delay to the operation to liberate the Iraqi city was caused by political issues, while the militia forces also needed rest after a tiring nine-month operation against terrorists in Mosul.
On the second day of the operation, the PMF forces managed to liberate three villages and obtained control over a network of tunnels dug by Daesh, while also killing 20 terrorists.
Tal Afar among other northern and western Iraqi cities and towns were seized in 2014 in a Daesh offensive. On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the beginning of the military offensive aimed at retaking the city.