ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The United States has not opened a military base near Tal Afar, according to an Iraqi army official on Friday.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command denied the existence of a US military base near Tal Afar, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Mosul.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasool rejected reports earlier in the week suggesting the construction of a US military base was 50 percent completed.
“There is no US military base within the military sector of Tal Afar,” Rasool said.
“The participation of coalition forces and US forces is limited to air support and advice, and the sharing of intelligence,” the Brigadier General added.
On Wednesday, Lieutenant Colonel Mahdi Abdul Wahid al-Khafaji, the head of the heavy military unit, said Washington was establishing a base in Zammar, north of Tal Afar.
According to Khafaji, engineering and technical teams (foreign and local) were working to complete the construction of the base.
Meanwhile, early stages of the operation against the Islamic State (IS) in Tal Afar are underway as security forces begin liberating surrounding areas.
Iraqi security officials have said nearly 40,000 soldiers will be involved in the offensive to free the city from IS control.
Iraqi Major General Najm al-Jabouri said he predicted the battle to reclaim the city from IS would be easy because the fighters are “worn out and demoralized.”
“I don’t expect it will be a fierce battle even though the enemy is surrounded,” he told Reuters.
“The enemy is very worn out,” he explained. “I know from the intelligence reports that their morale is low.”
The US-led coalition continues to conduct regular air strikes in and around the area, paving the way for Iraqi troops to enter the city.