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

The state-sponsored group known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi 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 Hashd al-Shaabi 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 Agency