With ISIS pushed out of Mosul, the next phase in the campaign is to rid the terrorist organization from the nearby city of Tal Afar. Located smack dab between Mosul and Sinjar, Tal Afar is a medium-sized city inhabited by both Sunni and Shia but dominated by the Turkmen ethnic group rather than Arabs. As ISIS swept across Iraq and Syria, Sinjar, Tal Afar, and Mosul fell in sequence in 2014.
I was one of the US Special Operations soldiers who saw action in Tal Afar, first with the Ranger Regiment in 2005 and then as a Green Beret in 2009. In ’05, the insurgency was in full swing and Tal Afar was known to belong to the enemy. We would roll into the city at night in our Strykers and conduct direct action missions to capture/kill high value targets. Every time we went into the city we got into firefights with the enemy. When I returned in 2009, I found a very different situation. Iraqi and coalition forces had pacified the city and Tal Afar was now experiencing a period of peace. Previous Special Forces ODA’s had set up and established Tal Afar Iraqi SWAT. When my ODA arrived we followed up on their hard work, training and developing ISWAT as well as accompanying them on direct action operations in Tal Afar, Mosul, and the surrounding areas.
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