Iraqi forces moved in from the western and northeastern fronts of the Daesh-held city of Tal Afar, and have freed more areas in the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul in Nineveh province.
Iraqi forces have taken control of an oil refinery and breached the city’s walls, media reports said.
The joint Iraqi forces took control of al-Jazirah area, on the eastern side of Tal Afar, as troops and members of the Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi started heading towards the city center.
“Their movement was swift earlier, but now the real battle begins,” a security source said to media.
Meantime, PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi was quoted as saying that Army, police and units of the Hashd al-Shaabi also took “full control” of Tal Afar’s al-Kifah and al-Nur districts.
Assadi said Iraqi forces had encircled the city despite “intense” fighting, adding that the offensive would likely last for weeks.
In his weekly press conference, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described Tuesday’s progress as “excellent”, calling it an “indication of the enemy’s collapse”.
Iraqi forces launched on Sunday an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar.
“You either surrender or die,” Iraqi prime minister said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants.
Tal Afar was cut off from the rest of Daesh-held territory in June.
About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in the city, according to Iraqi military commanders.