(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Iraqi fighters from Popular Mobilization Units have liberated more than a dozen villages near Tal Afar as pro-government forces and army soldiers are working on a planned offensive to expel ISIS Takfiri terrorists out of their remaining urban strongholds in the country.
The media bureau of the volunteer forces, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced in a statement on Tuesday that the fighters had established full control over seventeen villages on the southeastern outskirts of the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul, starting from the northern part of Adaya area towards the village of Ain al-Jahash southeast of Tal Afar.
The statement added that fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units are now conducting survey and bomb disposal operations in the liberated areas.
Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operations, Major General Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, told Reuters in an interview on Monday that he expects a relatively easy victory for government forces in the forthcoming operation to retake Tal Afar from ISIS as the extremists are “worn out and demoralized.
“I don't expect it will be a fierce battle even though the enemy is surrounded. The enemy is very worn out. I know from the intelligence reports that their morale is low,” he commented.
Jubouri estimated that there are between 1,500 and 2,000 ISIS militants left in Tal Afar. He highlighted that the battle for Tal Afar is set to start soon, and is waiting for orders from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi which would probably be issued within the next few “days, or a week, or two.”
Speaking at a youth meeting on Saturday, Abadi said Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters will take part in the offensive to win back Tal Afar.
He said the army and security commanders have devised a plan to dislodge ISIS from Tal Afar, which requires participation of security personnel as well as Hashd al-Sha’abi and tribal fighters.