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Iraqi Forces Break through ISIS Lines in Tal Afar | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A handout picture released by the Iraqi Federal Police on August 15, 2017, shows Iraqi armored units headed for the town of Tal Afar. (AFP Photo)

Baghdad, Mosul- Iraqi government forces broke through ISIS’ lines inside Tal Afar on Friday, reaching the old city center and the neighborhood around the Ottoman-era citadel, according to a military statement.

On the sixth day of the offensive, elite Iraqi units seized the northern neighborhoods of Nida’, Taliaa, Uruba, Nasr, and Saad, according to a statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC), Reuters said.

The Iraqi forces have seized about three quarters of the city since the offensive started in the early hours of Aug. 20, according to the latest JOC map, published on Friday evening.

In its turn, Agence France Presse quoted the JOC as saying in a statement that “the Iraqi flag has been hoisted in Nasr district.”

“The troops are now at the entrance to the district of the citadel,” the JOC said.

Saad district was seized and forces were moving into Qadissiyah, it added.

After routing the militants from Iraq’s second city Mosul in July following a grueling nine-month-long battle, Iraqi forces launched an assault Sunday on Tal Afar, where an estimated 1,000 terrorists are holed up.

The attackers have faced an onslaught of suicide and car bomb assaults.

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

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