Strategic Iraq town Tal Afar, airport falls to Sunni militants
strategic Shiite-majority north Iraq town of Tal Afar and its airport were in
the hands of Sunni Arab militants on Monday after days of heavy fighting, a
local official and witnesses said.
“The town of Tal
Afar and the airport are completely under the control of the militants,” the
official said on condition of anonymity. Witnesses said security forces had
departed the town, and confirmed that militants were in control.
The town, which is
located along a strategic corridor to Syria, had previously been the largest in
the northern province of Nineveh not to fall to militants. A major militant
offensive, spearheaded by jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL) but involving a raft of other Sunni groups as well, began in
Nineveh’s capital Mosul on June 9.
The militants took
Mosul the following day, swept through Nineveh and took major parts of four
more provinces as well.