Iraqi Forces Break through ISIS Lines in Tal Afar

A woman who has suffered serious facial injuries is one of the survivors from the city which was captured by ISIS in 2014 and liberated earlier this year after a brutal battle to drive the jihadists out with immense firepower and air strikes used in the

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the campaign against the militant group in Tal Afar would end soon.

Iraqi counter terrorism forces on Saturday recaptured the center of the city of Tal Afar, in the country " s north west, the operation command reported.

Clashes were ongoing on the northern outskirts and Iraqi forces were dealing with final pockets of jihadists inside the city, Yarallah said. The city is located 30 miles away from recently liberated Mosul and is the last major stronghold of the ISIL militants on Iraq's border with Syria. The drive from Tal Afar to Syria is only two hours, and the city could be the location of ethnic and sectarian combat after IS forces are driven out, the BBC said.

In advance of the operation, the Iraqi army had amassed some 400,000 troops and personnel in preparation for retaking Tal Afar.

"More than 300 militants were killed in the fighting", Joint Operations Command spokesman Yahia Rasoul declared at a joint press conference in Baghdad held with U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for a U.S. -led coalition fighting alongside Iraqi forces.

He also said that the Iraqi forces had seized 70 per cent of the city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State.

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Tal Afar fell to Daesh in 2014.

The CTS forces also freed the orchards area in southern Tal Afar, the statement said. The district has produced some of the armed group's most senior commanders. The city has a population of 200,000 people.

The number of civilians believed to have remained in the city at the start of the offensive was estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000 by the United States military.

Earlier in the day, Yarallah said counterterrorism forces had "raised the Iraqi flag" in the central areas of The Citadel and al-Basateen.

But many are not so sure about their safe passage out. Those remaining were threatened with death by the militants, who had held a tight grip there since 2014, according to aid organisations and residents who managed to flee.

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