Baghdad, Aug 20: Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Sunday announced the launch of a military offensive to recover the Tal Afar city from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
In a televised address, Abadi, dressed in a black military uniform and standing in front of an Iraqi flag and a map of the country, said the operation to free Tel Afar had started, reports Efe news.
Addressing the militants, the Prime Minister, who is also the head of the country’s armed forces, said they have no option but to “surrender or die”.
He finished his speech with an address to Iraqi troops: “The whole world is with you,” the BBC reported.
Hours before Abadi’s statement, the Iraqi air force dropped leaflets over the city warning people to “prepare” for the latest assault.
“The battle is imminent and the victory is coming, God willing,” the leaflets read.
Tal Afar is surrounded by government troops and Shia militiamen in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north.
Tal Afar, which has a mainly Shia-Muslim population, fell to the IS in 2014.
It is located on a major road between Mosul and the Syrian border that was once a key supply route for the jihadi group.