Iraqi forces face tough resistance from IS in final Tal Afar battle

Iraqi forces face tough resistance from IS in final Tal Afar battle
# 28 August 2017 22:10 (UTC +04:00)

Iraqi forces said they faced tough resistance on Monday from Islamic State fighters driven out of the city of Tal Afar to a small town where they had “nothing to lose” by fighting to the end, APA reports quoting Reuters.

An advance by the Iraqi army and Shi’ite paramilitary groups into al-’Ayadiya was being slowed by snipers, booby-traps and roadside bombs, military officials told Reuters.

“The offensive started from two fronts in a bid to distract Daesh fighters,” army Lieutenant Colonel Salah Kareem said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

“A total of four suicide bombers driving vehicles rigged with explosives attacked our troops under sniper cover. We had to slow down to avoid high casualty rates among our soldiers.”

Iraqi forces have in recent days recaptured almost all of the northwestern city of Tal Afar, long a stronghold of Islamic State. They have been waiting to take al-’Ayadiya, 11 km (7 miles) northwest of the city, before declaring complete victory.

“Our intelligence shows that the most diehard Daesh fighters fled Tal Afar to al-’Ayadiya,” Kareem said.

He said continuous air strikes and round-the-clock drone surveillance had prevented them fleeing to neighboring Syria.

”They have nothing to lose ... they will fight to the last breath,” Kareem said.

Islamic State mortar rounds and sniper fire struck close to the advancing forces. The army hit back with tanks, heavy machineguns and mortars.