Iraqi forces have now seized control of most of the strategically significant city of Tal Afar from ISIS, the Iraqi Joint Military Command said Saturday.
The minister noted that Tal Afar's liberation would not put an end to the ISIL threat and called for further efforts in combating the terrorist group. Tal Afar, about 150 kilometers east of the Syrian border, is one of the last pockets of ISIL-held territory in Iraq.
"Tal Afar city is about to fall completely into the hands of our forces, only five percent remains [under IS control]", the military spokesperson told Reuters.
It lies along the supply route between Syria and the former ISIL-stronghold of Mosul.
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.
The trapped Isis fighters were being deprived of their resources and at the "cusp of yet another defeat", Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Iraq, said during a joint press conference with Iraqi spokesman Yahya Rasool. The district has produced some of the armed group's most senior commanders.More news: U.S. far-right group relinquishes permit for Saturday rally in San Francisco
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US forces have been working with Iraq's military since October 2014 to help Iraq retake territory from the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot that swept across eastern Syria and much of western Iraq earlier that year.
A handout picture released by the Iraqi Federal Police on August 15, 2017, shows Iraqi armored units headed for the town of Tal Afar.
According to Rasul, there are no more than 2,000 Daesh militants in Tal Afar, who are mostly foreign fighters. As in the battle for Mosul, civilians are suffering badly.
But around 30,000 civilians are trapped by the fighting, according to the United Nations.
On Tuesday, U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said residents were arriving at refugee camps starving and with wounds from sniper fire and mine explosions.