TAL AFAR, Iraq (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi troops on Saturday seized one of the Islamic State's largest factories used to manufacture arms and explosives.
The facility was captured on day six of the military operation to liberate the town of Tal Afar which has been under the control of the jihadist group since June 2014.
The factory housed massive industrial equipment and machines for the manufacturing and production of various types of weapons, including mortars, rockets, missiles, and Katyusha launchers.
“It is clear the organization [IS] had insufficient arms but had many experienced members who could manufacture and develop weapons,” Colonel Ismat Sindi told Kurdistan 24 correspondent Masoud Mohammed.
The factory is located in the neighborhood of al-Basateen, southern of Tal Afar.
“There is no doubt that Da’esh relied on their foreign fighters to build weapons as many of them have considerable experience in that field,” he said, using the derogatory Arabic acronym for IS.
There are thousands of foreign fighters who joined IS as their influence grew over the past three years, coming from different countries around the world, each with their own experiences and backgrounds.
The Kurdistan 24 correspondent, embedded with the Iraqi forces, said the jihadists had broken the walls of the large building where the factory was located, creating corridors and enabling them to move weapons from one place to another quickly and without being detected by the Iraqi and coalition warplanes.
Iraqi forces continue to advance in Tal Afar, having liberated over 70 percent of the town. The troops claim they will fully retake Tal Afar in the upcoming days.
Tal Afar is located 60 kilometers west of Mosul in northern Iraq. The town has been one of IS' strategic strongholds in Iraq and was used as a waypoint between their territories in Iraq and Syria.
Editing by G.H. Renaud
(Additional reporting by Masoud Mohammed)