Surrender or die, Iraq tells Daesh in Tal Afar

Baghdad - The city was cut off from the rest of Daesh-held territory in June

By Reuters

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Published: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 11:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Aug 2017, 1:37 AM

Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar on Sunday, their next objective in the US-backed campaign to defeat Daesh militants, Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said.

"You either surrender, or die," Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants. A longtime stronghold of insurgents, Tal Afar, 80km west of Mosul in Iraq's far north, experienced cycles of sectarian violence after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and it has produced some of Daesh's most senior commanders.

The city was cut off from the rest of Daesh-held territory in June. It is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shia volunteers in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north.

Hours before Abadi's announcement, the Iraqi air force dropped leaflets over the city advising the population to take precautions. "Prepare yourself, the battle is imminent and the victory is coming, God willing," the leaflets read.

About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in Tal Afar, according to US and Iraqi military commanders. - Reuters

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