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Iraqi troops 'on the verge' of retaking Tal Afar from IS militants

Iraqi troops 'on the verge' of retaking Tal Afar from IS militants
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Iraqi forces say they are on the verge of retaking Tal Afar, the northwestern Iraqi stronghold of Islamic State militants.

The battle is the latest target in the war against IS following the recapture of Mosul; a nine-month campaign that left much of the city, the biggest in north, in ruins.

Up to 2,000 IS fighters were thought to be holed up in Tal Afar when the US-backed assault began last Sunday. The attacking troops are estimated to be around 50,000 strong.

Intelligence sources estimate up to 20,000 civilians also remained. Thousands more fled before the fighting started.

A statement from the Iraqi joint operations command says the citadel has been “liberated” and only five percent of the city remains under IS control.

Tal Afar lies on the supply route between Syria and the former Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, some 80 km to
the east.