News, Culture & Society

Iraq declares victory over ISIS in Nineveh province

The Iraqi government has declared victory over ISIS in the key northern city of Tal Afar and the rest of Nineveh province.

It had been almost entirely under the jihadists’ control, and comes after footage circulated of terror group members surrendering.

In a statement, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said: ‘Our happiness is complete, victory has arrived and the province of Nineveh is now entirely in the hands of our forces.’ 

Footage from the front-line in Iraq could show ISIS militants surrendering to the country’s armed forces in Ninieveh province

Iraq forces today declared victory in the war against ISIS in the key town of Tal Afar

Iraq forces today declared victory in the war against ISIS in the key town of Tal Afar

Footage emerged yesterday purporting to show suspected jihadis kneeling outside a desert town, which could be al-Ayadieh, patrolled by Iraqi peshmerga troops.

ISIS fighters fled to al-Ayadieh after the key town of Tal Afar, one of its final strongholds in the country, fell last week.

Yesterday, Iraqi military officials announced they had recaptured the eastern half of al-Ayadieh from the extremists.

The video circulating on social media purports to show suspected jihadis kneeling outside a desert town, which could be al-Ayadieh

The video circulating on social media purports to show suspected jihadis kneeling outside a desert town, which could be al-Ayadieh

ISIS fighters fled to al-Ayadieh after the key town of Tal Afar, one of its final strongholds in the country, fell last week. Pictured: Iraqi forces advance towards Al-Ayadieh

ISIS fighters fled to al-Ayadieh after the key town of Tal Afar, one of its final strongholds in the country, fell last week. Pictured: Iraqi forces advance towards Al-Ayadieh

Iraqi forces flash the sign for victory as they advance towards the al-Ayadieh area, north of Tal Afar

Iraqi forces flash the sign for victory as they advance towards the al-Ayadieh area, north of Tal Afar

Troops, police and special forces seized full control of the city of Tal Afar, ten miles from al-Ayadieh, last Sunday.

Between ‘150 and 200 ISIS fighters moved with their families up to Al-Ayadieh’, according to Brigadier General Andrew A Croft, deputy commander of the US-led coalition air units.

Iraqi forces had said the fighting in the area had been ‘multiple times worse’ than the battle for Mosul’s old city, which was retaken from ISIS last month.

Hundreds of battle-hardened fighters were positioned inside most houses and high buildings inside the town, making it difficult for government forces to make any progress, army officers said.

Iraqi government troops captured the town of Mosul from ISIS in July, but only after nine months of grinding urban warfare.

But one Iraqi officer, Colonel Kareem al-Lami, described breaching the militants’ first line of defense in al-Ayadieh as like opening ‘the gates of hell’.

Tough resistance from the militants in al-Ayadieh forced Iraqi forces to increase the number of air strikes. 

Between '150 and 200 ISIS fighters moved with their families up to Al-Ayadieh', according to Brigadier General Andrew A Croft of the US-led coalition air units

Between ‘150 and 200 ISIS fighters moved with their families up to Al-Ayadieh’, according to Brigadier General Andrew A Croft of the US-led coalition air units

Iraqi forces had said the fighting in the area had been 'multiple times worse' than the battle for Mosul's old city, which was retaken from ISIS last month

Iraqi forces had said the fighting in the area had been ‘multiple times worse’ than the battle for Mosul’s old city, which was retaken from ISIS last month

One Iraqi officer described breaching the militants' first line of defense in al-Ayadieh as like opening 'the gates of hell'. Pictured: The entrance to Tal Afar

One Iraqi officer described breaching the militants’ first line of defense in al-Ayadieh as like opening ‘the gates of hell’. Pictured: The entrance to Tal Afar

They also brought in reinforcements from the federal police to boost units from the army, air force, Federal Police, the elite US-trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) and some units from the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

Up to 2,000 battle-hardened militants were believed to be defending Tal Afar against around 50,000 government troops last week.

Military intelligence indicated that many militants fled Tal Afar to mount a staunch defense in al-Ayadieh. Many motorcycles carrying the ISIS insignia were seen abandoned at the side of the road outside al-Ayadieh.

Though the exact numbers of militants on the ground in al-Ayadieh was still unclear, al-Lami, the Iraqi Army colonel, estimated they were in their ‘hundreds’.

‘Daesh (ISIS) fighters in their hundreds are taking positions inside almost every single house in the town,’ he said.

Sniper shots, mortars, heavy machine guns and anti-armored projectiles were fired from every single house, he added.

‘We thought the battle for Mosul’s Old City was tough, but this one proved to be multiple times worst,’ al-Lami said.

Iraqi government troops captured the town of Mosul from ISIS in July, but only after nine months of grinding urban warfare. Pictured: Smoke billows as Iraqi forces advance towards Al-Ayadiah village

Iraqi government troops captured the town of Mosul from ISIS in July, but only after nine months of grinding urban warfare. Pictured: Smoke billows as Iraqi forces advance towards Al-Ayadiah village

Though the exact numbers of militants on the ground in al-Ayadieh was still unclear, al-Lami, the Iraqi Army colonel, estimated they were in their 'hundreds

Though the exact numbers of militants on the ground in al-Ayadieh was still unclear, al-Lami, the Iraqi Army colonel, estimated they were in their ‘hundreds

‘We are facing tough fighters who have nothing to lose and are ready to die.’

Two army officers told Reuters that no significant advances had yet been made in al-Ayadieh. They said they were waiting for artillery and air strikes to undermine the militants power.

The extra Federal Police troops that were called in said late on Tuesday that they had controlled 50 percent of the town, deploying snipers on the high buildings and intensified shelling the militants headquarters with rockets, a federal police spokesman said in a statement.

Tal Afar became the next target of the U.S.-backed war on the jihadist group following the recapture of Mosul, where it had declared its ‘caliphate’ over parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Do you like it? Share with your friends!


Comments are closed.