Wednesday, 20 September, 2017

Hashd Sha'abi fighters to take part in Tal Afar operation

Iraqi jets bomb Islamic State stronghold ahead of ground assault Suicide attack kills seven Iraqi security personnel
Melinda Barton | 20 August, 2017, 05:56

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said Thursday that a unit of the security forces committed "abuses" against civilians during the offensive to oust Islamic State insurgents from Mosul.

In the weeks since, much of the Iraqis' equipment has been repaired or replaced, said Gen. Joseph Votel, America's top Middle East commander who spent the last few days in Iraq.

In November 2016, a month after the launch of the Mosul offensive, the Shia-led paramilitary Popular Mobilisation (Hashd al-Shaabi) captured an airbase just to the south of Tal Afar.

Votel met with Iraqi military and political leaders in Baghdad and with Kurdish Peshmerga leaders in Irbil, in northern Iraq.

Iraqi warplanes bombed Tal Afar - the Islamic State's last stronghold in northern Iraq - in preparation for a ground assault, defense officials said. It sits along a major road that was a key IS supply route.

In late June, Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operations Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri said there are between 1,500 and 2,000 Daesh militants holed up in Tal Afar, and predicted a relatively easy victory for government forces in the operation saying the terrorists were "worn out and demoralized". "The US military will take part in this operation and they will work together with the Iraqi army", Maruf said. He was ensuring USA military advisory teams are with the right local units to provide the best support, intelligence gathering, surveillance and advice.

The umbrella organisation, which is dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias, has already been fighting to retake a number of other Iraqi cities from the Islamic State.

He further said that more than 400,000 Turkmen, natives of Tal Afar, can not return to their homes because of the presence of Daesh in the city.

He further said that smaller number of militias such as Hasd Al-Shaabi and a larger number of members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party are set to participate in the liberation of Tal Afar together with the U.S. forces.