Iraqi Forces Breach Islamic State Stronghold Tal Afar

Iraqi Forces Breach Islamic State Stronghold Tal Afar

 Iraqi forces breached the city limits of Tal Afar on Tuesday (August 22), an Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold west of Mosul, military authorities said.

Army and counter terrorism units broke into the city from the eastern and southern sides, according to statements from the Iraqi joint operations command.

In live video aired by Iraqia TV, Iraqi troops were seen deployed at the city limits of Tal Afar.

Security forces launched an offensive to take back the city on Sunday, their latest objective in a U.S.-backed campaign to defeat the ISIS militants, who remain in control of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria.

A longtime stronghold of ISIS insurgents, Tal Afar, 50 miles (80 km) west of Mosul, was cut off from the rest of the ISIS-held territory in June. The city is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shia volunteers in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north.

About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in the city, according to U.S. and Iraqi military commanders.

They are expected to put up a tough fight, even though intelligence from inside the city indicates they have been exhausted by months of combat, aerial bombardments, and by the lack of fresh supplies.