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Iraqi military: Most of Tal Afar seized from ISIS

Iraqi military: Most of Tal Afar seized from ISIS

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Defence Minister Florence Parly on Saturday arrived in the Iraqi capital to hold talks with Iraqi leaders and show support in fighting against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

"Units of the Counter-Terrorism Service liberated the citadel and Basatin districts and raised the Iraqi flag on top of the citadel", General Abdulamir Yarallah, the military offensive's commander, said.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman of the US -led coalition, told reporters ISIS fighters were "completely surrounded" in Tal Afar with their resources drying out, as their defeat nears.

The Islamic State (IS) is on the verge of defeat in Tal Afar as Iraqi forces are about to take full control of the town, an Iraqi military spokesperson said on Saturday.

Iraqi and Syrian forces have advanced against the extremist group on a number of fronts in recent months with the help of a US -led coalition.

Tal Afar lies on the supply route between Syria and Mosul, 80km to the east.

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Roughly 500 families have fled Iraq's ISIL-held Tal Afar district to next-door Syria in recent days amid an ongoing Iraqi army campaign to capture the district، a local military official said Friday.

A handout picture released by the Iraqi Federal Police on August 15, 2017, shows Iraqi armored units headed for the town of Tal Afar.

As in the battle for Mosul, civilians are suffering.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to have fled in the weeks before the battle started. The Tal Afar operation began Sunday, and is aimed at driving IS from one of the last major pockets it controls in Iraq. Those remaining were threatened with death by the militants, according to aid organizations and residents who managed to leave.

But around 30,000 civilians are trapped by the fighting, according to the United Nations.