Iraqi officials are claiming substantial military gains in the fight against ISIS over the northwestern city of Tal Afar, saying that the first Iraqi forces have reached the city’s central, and that multiple neighborhoods have fallen.
It doesn’t appear that this has involved a lot of heavy fighting so far, despite Iraqi officials claiming a large ISIS force remains in the city. Rather, most of the Iraqi forces still seem to be ringing the city’s outskirts, and it took very few to capture mostly uncontested districts.
Control over Tal Afar is seen as particularly vital for ISIS, as it’s at the crossroads of some key roads leading west toward Syria. It is also among the last significant territory inside Iraq ISIS controls at all, though ISIS has a substantial presence across the nation in places they don’t control.
The push into Tal Afar has fueled yet another refugee crisis in this area of Iraq, as the refugee camps int he region are still full from the fighting in Mosul, and people fleeing Tal Afar are largely being prohibited from going farther east.
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