Security Forces Abused Civilians in Mosul Campaign, Iraq Admits

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Displaced Iraqis from Tal Afar are seen in Salamya camp, east of Mosul, Iraq on August 6, 2017.

Al-Abadi says IS fighters inside the town have "no option" but to surrender or die.

Before Islamic State militants claimed it in June 2014, Tal Afar was an ethnically diverse town where Shiites and Sunnis lived.

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Iraqi warplanes have bombarded ISIS positions in the city - approximately 300 miles north of Baghdad - to prepare for ground operations, targeting weapon depots and command centres.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Friday, Ahmed al-Asadi said 20,000 volunteer forces, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, will take part in the forthcoming battle for Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

Iraqi government forces have liberated four districts in Tal Afar as they are engaged in a major ground operation to liberate the northern city from the grip of Daesh Takfiri terrorists. The US-led coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria welcomed the start of the offensive and pledged support to Iraqi forces involved. The majority population of Tal Afar area are Sunni and Shiite Turkomans, in addition to the minority of Kurds and other minorities. 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.

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A disparate collection of forces have launched two separate offensives against Islamic State, solidifying a de-facto alliance between longtime opponents Iran and the drive the group from the last remaining territory it holds.

"Their faces looked desperate and broken".

The main forces taking part in the offensive are the Iraqi army, air force, Federal Police, and the elite US-trained Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), who began encircling the city on Sunday. These officials accuse, however, the thousands of jihadists who would find the use of the families still in Tal Afar as human shields so that the planes were iraqi, and coalition lead for weeks, and air strikes in preparation for the land assault.

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