Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the northern city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province have been purged of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
“Tal Afar has been liberated. We say to the Islamic State (Daesh) fighters: Wherever you are, we are coming for you and you have no choice but to surrender or die,” Abadi said in a statement released on Thursday.
The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of the Iraqi army, Federal Police, counterterrorism units, volunteer troops, and Rapid Response Forces, Abadi said.
“Our happiness is complete, victory has arrived and the province of Nineveh is now entirely in the hands of our forces,” the Iraqi premier added.
Abadi also expressed Baghdad’s resolve to liberate all Iraqi territory and keep up its firm stance against terrorists who pose a threat to the entire region.
Announcing that Tal Afar had “regained its place in the national territory,” Abadi noted, “We pledge to you, our people, that we will continue to liberate every inch of Iraq.”
Tal Afar, situated about 150 kilometers from Syria’s border, was among the last Daesh-held cities in Iraq. The liberation of Tal Afar deprives Daesh of what was once a key supply route between its territory in Syria and Iraq.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters from Popular Mobilization Units have been leading a major operation to rid the country of the Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces launched the Tal Afar liberation operation on August 20, one month after fully recapturing the country’s second biggest city, Mosul, which was Daesh’s so-called “capital” in Iraq.
Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, but it is currently retreating from much of the territory under its control in the Arab country due to recent advances made by the Iraqi forces on the battlefield.