Iraqi tribes in Ninawa province announced Monday (July 31st) that they will take part in the upcoming battle to recapture Tal Afar in Ninawa province from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
About "seven thousand tribesmen" from Ninawa have volunteered to participate in fighting ISIS with the security forces, said Muzahim al-Huweit, spokesman for the Ninawa tribes.
"The volunteers have received good physical and military training, and possess enough weapons," he told Diyaruna.
He said the tribes will also work on maintaining security in Tal Afar after its liberation.
"Tribal forces have had a part in liberating many areas in Ninawa such as Zammar, Rabia and the Ninawa Plains," al-Huweit said, adding that they are now co-operating with the Iraqi and Peshmerga forces to preserve security in those areas.
"Tal Afar is the last area controlled by ISIS in Ninawa, and with its recovery, we will announce the liberation of all cities and towns in our province," he said.
The number of ISIS militants in Tal Afar is small, he said, as the group lost its top fighters in the Mosul battles and in coalition airstrikes.
"We do not expect any complications in the battle," he said. "The terrorists are surrounded and weak, with degraded morale, and will not be able to stand up to our liberating forces."
The operation to liberate Tal Afar is now imminent, after military and logistic preparations have been completed.
In a speech at the Iraqi Youth Parliament’s third session on July 29th, Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi said that the liberation plan has been completed.
One day earlier, the Defense Ministry announced that Iraqi forces are surrounding the area in preparation for the liberation operation.
Tal Afar, which has been controlled by ISIS since the summer of 2014, is located 65 kilometres west of Mosul.