ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces have regained control of 90 percent of Ayadhiya, the last district under the Islamic State's (IS) rule in Tal Afar, a senior military official said on Wednesday.
Federal Police Chief Major-General Raed Jawdat said Iraqi troops had made significant progress against the extremists in Ayadhiya.
“Federal police forces have regained 90 percent of Ayadhiya,” Jawdat said in an official statement.
He mentioned Iraqi forces, backed by the US-led coalition, continued to make progress in their battle against IS militants in Ayadhiya.
“In the coming hours, the last edges of the area under IS control will be cleared and declared completely liberated,” the Major-General said.
Jawdat also said dozens of families had been evacuated in the town and were transferred to displaced person’s camps where they were provided humanitarian aid.
On Monday, Iraqi troops battling the extremist group in Ayadhiya said they faced heavy resistance from the remaining militants in the town who have “nothing to lose.”
Military officials said the progress of Iraqi forces was being slowed down by snipers, booby-traps, and roadside bombs.
Meanwhile, the Commander of the Tal Afar operations, Abdul Amir Rashid Yaarallah, said the militant group’s presence was nearing its end very soon.
“The Federal Police, rapid response units, and the 9th Armored Division stormed the Ayadhiya area where the last of the terrorist cells remain in the province of Nineveh,” he said in a statement.
The fate of hundreds of Yezidis (Ezidis) who were believed to have been kept in Tal Afar remains unknown, with fears they might have been relocated to Ayadhiya or other IS-held areas.
The US-led coalition is supporting the progress of Iraqi soldiers with air strikes as they advance on the ground to defeat IS.
Editing by G.H. Renaud