- Title: Iraqi milita gain ground in Tal Afar
- Date: 18th November 2016
- Summary: TAL AFAR, IRAQ (NOVEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF TAL AFAR AIRPORT VARIOUS GENERAL VIEWS OF TAL AFAR VARIOUS OF HASHID SHAABI (POPULAR MOBILIZATION) FORCES STANDING NEAR ROCKET LAUNCHERS SOLDIERS FIRING ROCKETS FROM BEHIND A SAND EMBANKMENT VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS FIRING ROCKETS FROM THE LAUNCHER VARIOUS OF SMOKE RISING FROM THE TARGETED LOCATION SOLDIERS GATHERED NEAR SAND EMBANKMENT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SOLDIER WITH THE FOURTH REGIMENT, ABU HANAN AL KINANI, SAYING: "Yesterday, we began an operation to surround the airport, and today we were able to storm the airport, we cleared 50 percent of the airport. Less than half of it remains, our troops are at the end of the airports as well as the villages surrounding it. Yesterday we besieged the airport and today we stormed it." HELICOPTER FIRING ROCKETS SMOKE RISING FROM TARGETED LOCATIONS VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS AND ARMORED VEHICLES IN THE AREA
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2016 14:22
- Keywords: Tal Afar Iraq militia
- Location: TAL AFAR, IRAQ
- City: TAL AFAR, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00158Z2U6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary group said on Friday (November 18) that they have gained control of half of Tal Afar airport and nearby villages.
Tal Afar is an Islamic State-held area close to Turkey where a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population lives, which could cause concern in Ankara.
Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary group Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilization), started the offensive against Islamic State positions in Tal Afar, west of Mosul in October.
On Thursday (November 17), the militias surrounded the Tal Afar airport, and stormed it on Friday.
"We cleared 50 percent of the airport. Less than half of it remains, our troops are at the end of the airports as well as the villages surrounding it," Abu Hanan Al Kinani, an officer of the fourth regiment of Hashid Shaabi said.
The militants have been steadily retreating from areas around Mosul, Islamic State's last major city stronghold in Iraq, into Tal Afar since the battle started on Oct. 17, with air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition.
The capture of Tal Afar would offer the mainly Shi'ite forces a launchpad for operations against Islamic State targets inside Syria, and highlights the potential for the Mosul operation to reshape strategic power across northern Iraq.
The U.S.-backed offensive to crush Islamic State in Mosul, its last major city stronghold in Iraq entered a second month on Thursday (November 17) as forces arrayed against the hardline Sunni group sought finally to seal off the city from all sides.
The offensive to take Mosul is turning into the biggest battle in Iraq's turbulent history since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Iraqi authorities have declined to give a timeline for recapture of the whole city, but it is likely to last for months. The militants have launched waves of counter-attacks against advancing forces, tying them down in lethal urban combat in narrow streets still full of residents.
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