Thousands flee ahead of Tal Afar ground invasion

Thousands flee ahead of Tal Afar ground invasion

"You either surrender or die", Abadi said, addressing the militants.

On August 18, senior USA military leaders said the Iraqi forces were preparing to launch the drive on Tal Afar after completing the bloody nine-month battle to force IS from the major northern city of Mosul.

Abadi early on August 20 said in a televised speech that "the start of an operation to free Tal Afar" had commenced. Fearing the ground offensive, numerous city's residents have begun to flee the area.

The latest attack comes as Iraqi war planes pound IS positions in preparation for a ground assault on the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. It is also on a major road between Mosul and the Syrian border, and was once a key IS supply route.

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Some 50,000 people have fled the areas surrounding Tal Afar since April, Al Jazeera reports, adding that at least 50,000 more may try to escape the city in the near future.

Thousands of Iraqis continued to stream into the country's Kurdish region, as government forces prepare for a ground offensive in a northern area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Aydın Maruf, a Representative of the Turkmen Popular Front in Iraq, Member of the Parliament of the Regional Administration of Iraqi Kurdistan spoke to Sputnik Turkey in an interview about how the USA forces are preparing to participate in the liberation of Tal Afar.

"We have information about the presence of foreigners within Daesh ranks in Tal Afar, but we do not know their identity", Asadi pointed out. "The US military will take part in this operation and they will work together with the Iraqi army", Aydin Maruf, a representative of the Turkmen Popular Front in Iraq and MP the Regional Administration of Iraqi Kurdistan told Sputnik Turkey.

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