Tal Afar Operations Get Underway. Abadi Warns ISIL: Surrender Or Die
Iraqi Security Forces have confirmed that they broke ISIL’s first lines of defence hours after Iraq’s Prime Minister and Commander in Chief gave the go ahead for the operation to liberate Tal Afar from the ISIL.
In a speech yesterday morning, announcing the start of operations, Abadi said: “The people of Iraq will achieve another victory when Tal Afar joins other liberated areas.”
Addressing ISIL militants directly, Abadi had a clear warning. “Either surrender or die: we have achieved victory in all battles, and ISIL have lost.”
Abadi addressed the military, praising the Counter Terrorism Forces (CTF), the Federal Police, the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) and the local police headed to their mission, supported by the Air Force and engineering and medical aid, to liberate the city. “You are righteous and the world is with you. Our sons from all the governorates will free Tal Afar. ISIL will not succeed in dividing our people. Fighting ISIL and freeing our land has unified our people.”
‘We are Coming Tal Afar’ was the name given to the operation by the War Media Cell, who confirmed Lieutenant-General Abddul-Ameer Yaralla as operations commander.
In his statement on Sunday, Yaralla said: “Your forces will not rest an eye until ridding Iraq’s lands of ISIL terrorists. After the great victory of liberating Mosul, your heroes are headed towards Tal Afar. Operation ‘Tal Afar We Are Coming’ has started.”
“Right now your sons, determined and in good spirits, are heading towards Tal Afar and racing to destroy ISIL’s lines on the fronts leading to the city centre. The 9th armored division, the 15th and 16th division, military engineering and medical teams, artillery, the CTF, the Federal Police and the PMF are all taking part in the battles to liberate Tal Afar with aerial support from the Iraqi Air Force, the Army Aviation and the International Coalition,” said Yaralla.
The Iraqi War Media Cell asked the people of Tal Afar to tune into a dedicated radio station to await instructions. “People living in Mahalabia, al-Kasik, al-Ayathia, the city centre and the surrounding villages should tune in to 104.5 FM to receive instructions. All citizens can communicate via the free mobile messaging line 195, a service that is available on all networks to receive information and answer your questions.” He finished: “Be ready, the battle is near and victory is on the way.”
Military commanders, both US and Iraqi, estimate ISIL’s manpower in Tal Afar to be in the region of 2,000 militants who are expected put up a vicious fight, even though intelligence suggests ISIL militants are spent due to the volume of fighting, air raids and a lack of supplies.
Despite a high number of people fleeing Tal Afar, estimates suggest that ISIL is forcing thousands of civilians to stay. The United Nation’s International Organisation of Migration estimate between 10,000 to 40,000 people remain in the city and the surrounding villages.