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Most of IS captured Aal Tafar reclaimed, says Iraq

Most of IS captured Aal Tafar reclaimed, says Iraq

The Iraqi military announced on Sunday that its forces have captured the majority of the northwestern city of Tal Afar from the ISIS terrorist group.

Since Mosul fell to government troops, Tal Afar is the last IS enclave in the province.

Iraqi defense officials say about 10,000 civilians remain inside the city.

Iraqi military forces fighting against ISIS are now reportedly controlling most parts of Tal Afar, including the city center, according to reports from officials and military spokespeople on the ground.

Iraqi government forces started the military offensive in Tal Afar, the last major Daesh stronghold near the Iraqi-Syrian border, on August 20.

French forces have carried out air and artillery strikes in support of Iraqi operations.

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

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There were between 1,500 and 2,000 IS militants left in Tal Afar.

The main forces taking part in the offensive are the Iraqi army, air force, Federal Police, the elite US -trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) and some units from the Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that began encircling the city on Sunday.

The word "liberated" in Arabic was stamped on a map of Tal Afar.

US -backed forces are gradually securing the key area since the launch of the ground offensive earlier this week.

Directly targeted by the jihadists, most of the city's 200,000-strong population fled.

At the same time, USA and Iraqi airstrikes were pounding the city, an important way station for the Islamic State to move fighters and resources between the territory it controlled in Syria and Iraq.

Three months later, they retook Mosul's east and turned their attention to the west, finally declaring the whole city "liberated" on July 9. It was cut off from other IS-held territories in June during the Iraqi-led operation to recapture Mosul.