This content is not available in your region

Iraq bombs ISIL-held Tal Afar ahead of ground assault

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Iraq bombs ISIL-held Tal Afar ahead of ground assault

<p>Iraq’s military said on Tuesday that it is carrying out air strikes on <span class="caps">ISIL</span> targets in Tal Afar, west of Mosul, in preparation for a ground assault.</p> <p>It comes after US-backed Iraqi forces completed the recapture of Mosul last month, shattering the self-proclaimed caliphate declared by so-called Islamic State.</p> <p>Parts of Iraq and Syria remain however under <span class="caps">ISIL</span> control, especially along the border.</p> <p>Tal Afar is one of the last pockets of land held by the extremists in Iraq.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Iraq starts bombing IS-held Tal Afar, west of Mosul: Sumariya <a href="https://t.co/6ZTsLDzzHG">https://t.co/6ZTsLDzzHG</a> <a href="https://t.co/iS7xw7UY1u">pic.twitter.com/iS7xw7UY1u</a></p>— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) <a href="https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/897362236120936449">15 août 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><br /> </p> <p>The town had about 200,000 residents before falling to <span class="caps">ISIL</span> and hudreds of civilians have been fleeing the area ahead of the upcoming battle.</p> <p>That means collection points, screening, and shelter in camps for many – uncertain of what the future holds for them and their families.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hundreds of Iraqi's flee the city of Tal Afar over fears it will be the next battleground in the fight against ... <a href="https://t.co/oYKoOJA1LI">https://t.co/oYKoOJA1LI</a> <a href="https://t.co/BkoNLeJ9WK">pic.twitter.com/BkoNLeJ9WK</a></p>— euronews (@euronews) <a href="https://twitter.com/euronews/status/896630781241643008">13 août 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <p><br /> </p> <p>Tal Afar experienced cycles of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi’ites after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and has produced some of <span class="caps">ISIL</span>’s most senior commanders.</p> <p>It has now become the focus of a wider regional struggle for influence. </p> <p>Turkey, which claims affinity with Tal Afar’s predominantly ethnic Turkmen population, opposes the involvement of Shi’ite paramilitary groups fighting with Iraqi forces, some of which are backed by Iran.</p> <p>The US-led coalition is also keeping up its support to the Iraqi forces’ campaign to end the militants presence all over the country.</p> <p><br /> </p> <p><em>with Reuters</em></p>