TEHRAN, Nov. 22 (Press Shia) – Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Shia militia is encircling ISIL-held northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, the PMF command said Tuesday.

The state-sponsored militia aims to encircle the city as well as sweep the surrounding villages for ISIL terrorists, the command said in a statement.

Tal Afar is the main ISIL stronghold between its self-proclaimed capital in Iraqi Mosul and its Syrian territories, thus located on a key supply route to Iraq’s second-largest city.

PMF forces have been advancing on the city over recent weeks, capturing dozens of villages. On November 16, the militia approached the city, saying it had retaken the Tal Afar airport from the militants. The Iraqi operation retake Mosul from terrorists has been going on for over a month since October 17.

The battle for the city began with 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and 30,000 Iraqi soldiers backed by the US-led anti-terror coalition advancing on the city from the east, west and south. Mosul has been occupied by Daesh since 2014.

SPUTNIK/Press Shia