Iraq PM pledges to liberate last ISIL haven in Nineveh

Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi is ready to liberate ISIL’s last haven in Nineveh amid rising concerns that Shiite militias who were accused of torture and killings in Sunni-majority cities, might enter the city along with the Iraqi army.
Speaking during a weekly conference in Baghdad, Mr Al Abadi said a plan had been formulated to liberate the town of Tal Afar and stressed that foreign militants arrested by security forces would be held equally as accountable as home-grown extremists.
“We will not exclude foreign terrorists detained by our security forces from the law,” Mr Al Abadi said.
While the battle for Mosul is over, the war against ISIL is far from complete. Although the militants have lost about 60 per cent of the territory they controlled, they remain present in some parts of Iraq.
Meanwhile, the US- led global coalition against ISIL has continued to provide air strikes on Mosul city, although the Iraqi government declared victory three weeks ago.
“We are not going to wait for ISIL to dig in to Tal Afar,” US coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said on Sunday.
Located approximately 60 kilometres west of Mosul and the borders with Turkey and Syria, Tal Afar has been under ISIL’s control since mid-2014.
Victory in the town, where the majority of the population — both Shia and Sunni — is ethnically Turkmen, would mean the loss of one of its most important strongholds for ISIL.
Within Iraq, it is acknowledged that ISIL’s control over Tal Afar is particularly brutal.

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