Only 5 percent of Tal Afar remains under IS control: Iraqi army

Iraqi forces advance through Tal Afar's Al Wahda district during an operation to retake the city from the ISIS group

The US-trained Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), Federal Police, the Rapid Response Force, Iraqi Army, and Hashd al-Shaabi are taking part in the operation with the backing of the coalition.

Iraqi forces have "completely surrounded" fighters with the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in the northern city of Tal Afar, according Iraqi and USA officials.

The aerial and ground offensives to recapture Tal Afar, located 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Mosul, from the militant IS group started earlier this month.

An estimated 10,000 to 50,000 civilians are believed to still be living under ISIS control in Tal Afar and the surrounding areas, according to coalition figures.

Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman of the US -led coalition, told reporters ISIS fighters were "completely surrounded" in Tal Afar with their resources drying out, as their defeat nears. The district has produced some of the armed group's most senior commanders.

Most of Tal Afar's 200,000 residents, the majority of them Shiite Turkmens whose beliefs are anathema to the Sunni hardliners of IS, fled as the jihadists arrived.

Iraqi security forces had retaken 27 out of 29 neighborhoods in Tal Afar by Saturday evening but in two neighborhoods on the northeast side, fighting was continuing, a statement from the Iraqi joint operations command said.

The Tal Afar operation began Sunday, and is aimed at driving IS from one of the last major pockets it controls in Iraq.

"We fear that Iraqi civilians are likely to be held as human shields again and that attempts to flee could result in executions/shootings", said Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, in a news release.

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