Iraqi forces make fresh gains in Tal Afar against Islamic State

Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar's Al Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from the ISIS group

Roughly 500 families have fled Iraq's ISIL-held Tal Afar district to next-door Syria in recent days amid an ongoing Iraqi army campaign to capture the district، a local military official said Friday.

It said Counter-Terrorism Service special forces had also retaken Al-Taliaa district to the south and were tasked with expelling IS from the citadel, the last current target of the CTS in Tal Afar. Clashes are continuing with IS militants, he added.

A predominantly Turkmen district, Tal Afar was overrun by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters in 2014.

Gen. Yahya Rasool said Saturday joint troops controlled 60 percent of the battlefield and 90 percent of the city center of Tal Afar in the northwestern Nineveh province.

"God willing, the remaining part will be liberated soon", Jaafari said at a news conference in Baghdad on August 26.

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On Monday, Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said more than 30,000 people had already fled the city and surrounding areas.

The Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi force announced that their forces were able to liberate al-Mouthana and al-Salam neighborhoods in Tal Afar from ISIS.

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

The city, which had a pre-war population of about 200,000, lies on the supply route between Syria and Mosul, 80 km (50 miles) to the east. It was cut off from other IS-held territories in June during the Iraqi-led operation to recapture Mosul.

Between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians are estimated to remain in the city and its surrounding villages. People were arriving at camps for displaced people with wounds from sniper fire and mine explosions.

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