Iraqi forces, backed by Hashd Shaabi volunteer forces (also known as Popular Mobilizattion Forces” managed on Saturday to drive ISIL Takfiri group from its Tal Afar bastion, as they liberated the city center and raised the country’s flag atop its Ottoman-era citadel.
“Units of the Counter-Terrorism Service liberated the Citadel and Basatin districts and raised the Iraqi flag on top of the citadel,” operation commander General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement.
The CTS and federal police units had converged on the city center from the south and west, said General Yarallah.
Clashes were ongoing on the northern outskirts and Iraqi forces were dealing with the final pockets of resistance inside the city, he added.
Saturday’s advance puts Iraqi forces on the verge of recapturing Tal Afar only six days after they launched “Tal Afar, We’re Coming” operation to take back one of the last ISIL strongholds in the country.
Tal Afar is located 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Mosul, where the terrorist group declared its so-called “caliphate” in 2014 before being ousted from the city in July.
The allied forces on Saturday also seized three northern districts of Tal Afar and the Al-Rabih neighborhood west of the citadel, a day after taking the Al-Talia district to the south.