TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iraqi security forces launched on Sunday an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar, their next objective in the campaign to defeat Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.
"You either surrender, or die," Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants, Reuters reported.
Tal Afar, 50 miles (80 km) west of Mosul, was cut off from the rest of Daesh-held territory in June.
The city is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and volunteer forces in the south, and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in the north.
About 2,000 battle-hardened militants remain in the city, according to Iraqi military commanders.
They are expected to put up a tough fight, even though intelligence from inside the city indicates they have been exhausted by months of combat, aerial bombardments, and by the lack of fresh supplies.
Hours before Abadi's announcement, the Iraqi air force dropped leaflets over the city telling the population to take their precautions. "Prepare yourself, the battle is imminent and the victory is coming, God willing," they read.