An Iraqi top army generals, Major General Najm Abdullah al-Jubbouri speaks during an interview with Reuters in Mosul, Iraq July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily
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Less than one month after declaring victory in the city of Mosul, Iraqi forces are poised to attack Tal Afar, – around 40 km to the west of Mosul – in what will be the next major battle against the militants.Jabouri, a key battlefield commander, said the fight would be simple compared to the nine months of grueling urban combat in Mosul, which took a heavy toll on Iraqi forces. Jabouri estimated there were between 1,500 and 2,000 militants left in Tal Afar, possibly including militants' family members.Unlike Mosul, where Daesh effectively held hundreds of thousands of people hostage to slow the advances of Iraqi forces, Jabouri said few civilians remained in Tal Afar, except those related to the militants.Of the remaining militants, Jabouri believed many were foreigners – from Turkey, former Soviet Republics and Southeast Asia – who became trapped after Iraqi forces severed all routes between Mosul and Tal Afar earlier this year.
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