Small Wars Journal

Iraqi Military Reclaims City of Tal Afar After Rapid Islamic State Collapse

Iraqi Military Reclaims City of Tal Afar After Rapid Islamic State Collapse by Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim - Washington Post

Iraq’s military fully reclaimed this northern city from the Islamic State on Sunday in a rapid campaign that defied expectations that the extremist group would put up a fierce resistance in one of its last major strongholds.

The battle for Tal Afar, which lasted just eight days, highlighted the diminished capabilities of the Islamic State in Iraq a month after it lost the key bastion of Mosul to a coalition of Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and is likely to determine how future fights against the militant group will be executed.

Senior Iraqi military officers said the group has lost the will to fight in the face of a motivated and increasingly more professional military and are advocating that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi authorize his armed forces to launch simultaneous battles for the last major cities that the Islamic State controls.

Since the Islamic State took over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory in 2014, Abadi has opted to reclaim cities one by one while the U.S. and other Western nations helped to rebuild Iraq’s armed forces, which collapsed during the Islamic State blitz.

Now, with more than three years of combat experience, Iraq’s security forces are eager to quicken the pace of the fight, with some commanders urging that the battles for the two remaining Islamic State strongholds, Hawija and Qaim, be launched at the same time…

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