The commander of Ninewa operations, expected the security forces to achieve an easy victory in the next battle to regain Tal Afar, the bastion of the terrorist organization, “because there are about 2,000 armed men suffering from stress and low morale.
Less than a month after the announcement of victory in the city of Mosul, Iraqi forces are preparing to attack Tal Afar, about 40 km west of Mosul, in what will be the next big battle against “Daash.”
“The battle of Tal Afar is what I thought would be a big and complicated battle, I do not think … The enemy is exhausted, the enemy has been besieged for a long time, it receives daily strikes by night and day,” Major General Najem al-Jubouri said in an interview with Reuters. By coalition forces or by the Iraqi air force. ”
“The battle will be simple compared to the heavy fighting to restore Mosul, which lasted nine months.
“I know through intelligence reports that their morale is in the bottom and they are also trying as hard as possible to escape from Tal Afar by all means,” said Jubouri, who was mayor of Tel Afar when gunmen stormed it more than a decade ago.
He estimated that there are between 1500 and 2000 elements of “Daash” in Tal Afar. This figure may include some members of their families who support them. “Through aerial surveys, we are using some information because they are preventing civilians,” he said. “It means that no one is photographing their areas, but I imagine that there are more than 1,500 to 2,000 armed men.”
He said that this is a large number but the terrain of the land in favor of Iraqi forces.
The Saray district of Tal Afar is similar to the old city of Mosul, where Iraqi forces had to walk on narrow streets. The rest of Tal Afar can be moved with tanks and armored vehicles.
In contrast to Mosul, where hundreds of thousands of people were held hostage to slow down the advance of Iraqi forces, Jubouri said there were still a few civilians in Tal Afar, except for the families of Da’ash.
Jubouri said Iraqi forces were expected to face bombings, snipers and mines. He added that although terrorists were trapped, there were no signs of diminishing stockpiles of ammunition.
“Many Turkomans, who are members of the Ta’if community, have managed to escape among the displaced civilians and have fled to Turkey, where they can be integrated into their population without being noticed,” he said.
Jabouri believes that among the remaining elements of the “da’ash” are many foreigners from Turkey, the former Soviet republics and Southeast Asia, who say they are trapped after Iraqi forces cut off all roads between Mosul and Tal Afar this year.
The chief of Nineveh operations, all that remains is to receive orders from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to carry out the attack, perhaps within days, a week or two.
The next battle to recapture Tal Afar has echoes of the past. When the United States reduced the presence of its troops in northern Iraq after the war, the gunmen seized the opportunity and captured most of Tal Afar in 2005.
Jabouri, who was then mayor of Tal Afar, took refuge in a 16th-century Ottoman castle that dominated Over the city from a hilltop in the center of the city as Iraqi forces and US troops led by Colonel HR McMaster hit the insurgents.
Stability in the city was achieved and McMaster’s approach was seen as a blueprint for a successful strategy to tackle insurgents. But in the years that followed, Tal Afar plunged into sectarian violence again and the militants gained a foothold again.
Jubouri said he had met with McMaster, who is currently US national security adviser about a month ago and that they discussed the Tal Afar issue. He said the situation was different compared to the previous battle in the future battle.
He said the “enemy” was a bigger enemy than al-Qaeda, but Iraqi forces had gained experience in the three years in which they fought.