Iraqi forces launch offensive on Islamic State in Tel Afar, recapture three villages

Erbil: The Iraqi federal police has recaptured three villages in the west of Tel Afar from the Islamic State terror organisation as an offensive that was launched on Sunday began to deliver results.

Commander Raed Shaker Jawdat said in a statement that the recovered areas included Tel al-Saban and Qazal Quiqu, while troops also surrounded the district of Qorat Taba.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The Iraqi forces also took control early on Sunday of the area of al-Ebra al-Saghuira, with the support of Iraqi aviation, reported Efe news agency.

Meanwhile, Commander of the Army's 9th Armoured Division, Qasem Nezal, told Efe that its troops managed to destroy an Islamic State tunnel and continue advancing towards the centre of Tel Afar.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced on Sunday in a televised address the launching of the offensive to regain Tel Afar, located some 65 km (40 miles) west of the recently liberated city of Mosul.

"I am saying to Daesh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State) that there is no other option than to surrender or be killed," Abadi said in his speech.

Joint Operation Commander lieutenant general Abdul-Amir Jarallah said in a statement on Sunday the forces involved in the offensive were the Army's 9th Armored Division, its 15th and 16th Brigades, counter-terrorism units, federal police and pro-government militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces.

All these forces were backed by the Iraqi Air Force and the US-led international coalition.

Tel Afar is the last Islamic State-held region in Nineveh province, after the liberation of Mosul, which used to be the radicals' main bastion in the Arab country.

In July, Abadi officially declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul.

Updated Date: Aug 20, 2017 22:03 PM

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