The Battle for Tal Afar
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
The ISIS-controlled city lies about 60 miles west of Mosul. Its earlier population declined sharply from about 200,000 to around 80,000 in 2007.
It's believed around 50,000 remain, civilians held hostage by ISIS since June 2014, its last stronghold in the country. On August 20, Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake the city and surrounding areas - US terror-bombing involved.
What's begun is similar to the rape and destruction of Mosul, what's ongoing in Raqqa - thousands of civilians slaughtered by indiscriminate terror-bombing and shelling of residential areas.
Thousands in Tal Afar may perish the same way. Families unable to escape my die. America supports ISIS. Like Mosul and Raqqa, the offensive is about raping and destroying the city, not liberating it or aiming to eliminate ISIS, many of its fighters perhaps to be relocated elsewhere in Iraq or Syria.
According to regional administration of Iraqi Kurdistan MP Aydin Maruf, "(i)n preparation for the operation for the liberation of Tal Afar, the US is creating a military base near the city."
"The US military will take part in this operation and they will work together with the Iraqi army," Pentagon commanders directing the operation.
According to the UN, thousands of civilian fled the area, others trying to get out risk death at the hands of ISIS fighters if caught.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis arrived in Baghdad for war consultations with US-installed puppet Iraqi prime minister Haider Abadi.
"ISIS is on the run," he blustered. "They have been shown to be unable to stand up to our team in combat…It's not over yet, and it's not going to be over any time soon," he added. Rape and destruction take time.
US commander in Iraq in charge of terror-bombing General Stephen Townsend added "momentum is with our partners" - ISIS one of them, he failed to explain.
Is Tal Afar ISIS' "last stand" in Iraq, as Mattis claimed? Not likely, given how often Washington redeploys its foot soldiers elsewhere to continue waging endless regional wars.
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