By Sarhad Shaker
A U.S.-led air coalition on Wednesday resumed striking Iraq’s northern Tal Afar district amid preparations by a French army battalion to decisively drive Daesh terrorists from the area.
“Coalition warplanes struck six Daesh positions today in central Tal Afar,” Musa Ali Julaq, commander of a Turkmen division of the Hashd al-Shaabi (a largely Shia fighting force incorporated into the Iraqi army last year), said.
“We heard several massive explosions followed by a number of small ones as coalition warplanes struck [Daesh] arms depots,” Julaq told Anadolu Agency without giving details as to casualties or material damage.
“A French artillery battalion stationed near the Mosul Dam is now preparing to advance on Tal Afar to reinforce Iraqi troops already deployed in the vicinity,” he added.
The French battalion, which is operating under the U.S.-led coalition, supported the Iraqi army’s nine-month campaign that ended last month with Mosul’s recapture from the terrorist group.
As for Daesh’s current disposition in Tal Afar, Julaq said: “The enemy is now arresting its own elements who are attempting to flee their positions following two weeks of intense [coalition] bombardment.”
The northern district of Tal Afar has remained a Daesh stronghold since the terrorist group overran vast territories in northern and western Iraq in mid-2014.