Iraqi forces prepare for campaign called ‘We are coming, Tal Afar’

“The next operation is called ‘We are coming, Tal Afar,’ and it will be separate from the Nineveh operation.”

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces are preparing the military offensive to retake the town of Tal Afar from the Islamic State (IS), located west of Mosul.

Similar to the Mosul operation under the name “We are coming, Nineveh,” Iraqi forces have called the new military campaign “We are coming, Tal Afar.”

The offensive, supported by the US-led coalition, is expected to launch soon.

After nine months of fierce fighting, Iraqi forces liberated Mosul on July 10, the second-largest city in the country and self-proclaimed capital of IS occupied by the group since June 2014.

Tal Afar is a predominantly Turkmen town located 60 kilometers (37 miles) west of Mosul.

“The next operation is called ‘We are coming, Tal Afar,’ and it will be separate from the Nineveh operation,” the Iraqi army’s press media stated, adding the “‘We are coming, Nineveh’ operation is over.”

The military campaign to liberate Mosul was led by Major General Abdul-Amir Rashid Yarallah, and it remains unclear whether he will lead the Tal Afar offensive too.

Military analysts believe Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi may announce the launch of the Tal Afar operation in early autumn after the weather improves as temperatures currently reach nearly 50 Celsius.

“The battle will begin within days,” Abadi said at his last news conference in Baghdad.

The liberation of Tal Afar will end IS’ control in the province of Nineveh where the group emerged and declared its caliphate in mid-2014.

Last month, Abadi announced a military plan would be prepared to free Tal Afar with the participation of the Iranian-backed Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

Turkey and Sunni leaders in Iraq have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the PMF’s participation in liberating the Turkmen town of Tal Afar.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany