Iraqi Forces, Hashd Shaabi Liberate Tal Afar Center, Citadel from ISIL Terrorists

A woman who has suffered serious facial injuries is one of the survivors from the city which was captured by ISIS in 2014 and liberated earlier this year after a brutal battle to drive the jihadists out with immense firepower and air strikes used in the

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.

Iraq's state-run TV aired live footage showing pillars of smoke rising in the distance as military vehicles traveled through wide, arid areas.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, a military spokesman, spoke hours after Iraq's foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said that 70 per cent of the town west of Mosul had been retaken.

Tal Afar has served as a key ISIS route between Iraq and Syria since 2014 and is the last major centre in northwestern Iraq still controlled by the terrorist group.

Tal Afar has always been a stronghold for hard-line Sunni insurgents.

"A total of 302 militants were killed, 31 districts of Tal Afar were liberated", Rasul told a joint press conference with spokesman for the US-led coalition US Army Col. Ryan Dillon.

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The International Organization for Migration said "thousands of civilians" had fled Tal Afar since the offensive began.

IS fighters inside Tal Afar are estimated to number around 1,000. It was cut off from other IS-held territories in June during the Iraqi-led operation to recapture Mosul.

Rasool says about 10,000 civilians remain inside the city but that authorities have secured safe corridors for them.

The group is also retreating in Syria, where it is facing two separate offensives, one backed by the USA and the other by Russian Federation and Iran.

Waves of residents fled the city in the weeks before the battle started.

"I lost 25kg in the last three months", said Hajji Abu Mohammad, who escaped last Saturday with his wife and five children.

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