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Iraqi forces on Thursday recaptured three more neighborhoods of northern Iraq's IS-held Tal Afar district, according to Iraqi military sources.

It said Counter-Terrorism Service special forces had also retaken Al-Taliaa district to the south and were tasked with expelling IS from the citadel, the last current target of the CTS in Tal Afar.

Earlier Friday، another Iraqi military source، speaking anonymously due to restrictions on talking to media، told Anadolu Agency that 6،000 civilians had been evacuated from Tal Afar within the past 48 hours due to fierce fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIL. Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, is the last IS stronghold in the province of Nineveh.

There were between 1,500 and 2,000 IS militants left in Tal Afar.

Iraq's state-run TV aired live footage showing pillars of smoke rising in the distance as military vehicles traveled through wide, arid areas.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said Saturday that Iraqi forces have retaken the town center.

The breaking of IS lines comes a day after U.S. Army spokesman Ryan Dillon said Iraqi forces had "completely surrounded" IS fighters in Tal Afar and that the jihadists were "being killed".

The city, which had a pre-war population of about 200,000, lies on the supply route between Syria and Mosul, 80 km (50 miles) to the east.

Tal Afar has produced some of IS's most senior commanders and was cut off from the rest of IS-held territory in June.

The Iraqi army said it believes some 10,000 civilians remain inside, adding it had secured safe corridors for them. Those remaining were threatened with death by the militants, according to aid organizations and residents who managed to leave.


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