Monday, August 28, 2017

Tal Afar Battle Day 8 - Completed


Victorious Iraqi forces inside Tal Afar (Baghdad Post)

After eight days the Tal Afar operation was over. The Iraqi forces (ISF) completed sweeping up the last neighborhoods on the eastern tip of the town along with a few areas in the center. The battle was completed in amazing speed. The ISF claimed that it was a sign that the Islamic State was finished and had lost its morale. A general from the Golden Division for example told the press that IS’s “back [was] broken.” While that is up to debate, what is not is the fact that the insurgents largely abandoned the town. The ISF claimed only 259 fighters were killed up to August 26. That compared to the 1,000-2,000 IS members the Iraqis predicted would be there before the operation began. According to a Ninewa councilman most IS elements were killed in Mosul or fled afterward leaving few for Tal Afar. Although the town was surrounded at the end of 2016, the cordon never appeared to be very strong allowing ample opportunity for militants to leave.

With Tal Afar finished the army headed towards the Ayadiyah district to the north, which was still under IS control. The 15th and 16th Division took several villages in the area. Ayadiyah will likely be cleaned up quickly.

Another surprising feature of Tal Afar was that the city was mostly empty of people. There were estimates that up to 200,000 civilians might be living in the town. According to the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration roughly 28,145 people left the Tal Afar district from the middle of July when the Iraqis and Coalition began bombing the area until when the fighting was finished in August. When the assault on the city started only around 5,000 were left. 50,000 total were reportedly displaced from April to August. Like the militants, the vast majority of people departed Tal Afar long before the operation began.

SOURCES

Baghdad Post, “1,500 civilians forced from homes in Tal Afar,” 8/27/17
- “Iraqi army liberates 6 villages in Tal Afar,” 8/27/17
- “Iraqi forces recapture Tal Afar center,” 8/27/17

Bas News, “Thousands of Iraqi Civilians Fleeing Tel Afar Assisted by UN,” 8/22/17

Al Ghad Press, “Map: Nasr and Allah Nasr In The Center Of Tal Afar 100% Under Iraqi Control,” 8/27/17

El-Ghobashy, Tamer and Salim, Mustafa, “Iraqi military reclaims city of Tal Afar after rapid Islamic State collapse,” Washington Post, 8/27/17

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking Mosul Operations Data Snapshot: 13 July 2017,” 7/13/17

Iraq Newspaper, “Iraqi Newspaper Reporter In Tal Afar: The Liberation Of The Industrial And The Military Areas By 15th and 16th Division Advancing To Ayadiyah Without The Popular Crowd Due To Its Proximity To Turkey,” 8/27/17

Iraqi Media Network, “Freed 4 villages west Ayadiyah,” 8/27/17

Al Jazeera, “Iraqi forces ‘completing mission’ to drive ISIL out from northern Iraq,” 8/27/17
- “Thousands flee ahead of Tal Afar ground invasion,” 8/19/17

Al Mada, “The Battle of Tal Afar was quick and clean thanks to its isolation from Mosul,” 8/27/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “500 families flee Tal Afar to Syria: Kurdish commander,” Iraqi News, 8/25/17

Mostafa, Nehal, “More than 200 Islamic State militants killed in southwestern Tal Afar: Military,” Iraqi News, 8/27/17

New Sabah, “Freed the center of Tal Afar in full and announce the victory of Bashir in the next few days,” 8/27/17

Rudaw, “First look at Tal Afar after ISIS as Iraqi forces claim victory,” 8/27/17
- “Iraqi forces in full control of Turkmen city of Tal Afar, military,” 8/27/17

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 3 August 2017,” 8/3/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 6 August 2017,” 8/6/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 9 July 2017,” 7/9/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 10 August 2017,” 8/10/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 14 August 2017,” 8/14/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 17 August 2017” 8/17/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 23 August 2017,” 8/23/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 24 July 2017,” 7/24/17
- “Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update – 30 July 2017,” 7/30/17
- “UNHCR Iraq opens new camp for displaced families fleeing Telafar and surrounding areas,” 8/27/17

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Iraq: Mosul Humanitarian Response Situation Report No. 40 (12 to 26 July 2017), 7/27/17

Xinhua, “Iraqi forces recapture remaining areas from IS near Tal Afar,” 8/28/17

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