DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:40 P.M.) – With the offensive to expel ISIS from Tal Afar postponed time and again, the Islamic State’s snipers are slowly picking away at Iraqi frontier checkpoints and outposts in the western countryside of Nineveh.

A series of new photos published by Amaq Agency shows half a dozen soldiers of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) being hit by ISIS sharpshooters west of Tal Afar city itself:

Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN

Raids by jihadist belligerents are also highly common in this region; last week, a couple members of the PMU were even beheaded following a hit-and-run attack.

Nevertheless, the Iraqi Army and PMU were given the green light to restart the Tal Afar offensive a couple days ago by the High Command. In effect, hundreds of armored vehicles and some 20,000 troops are gathered in preparation for the long-awaited assault.

Tal Afar, a predominately Turkmen area in northern Iraq, has been fully surrounded since late 2016 and cutoff from the Islamic State’s mainland.

The Islamic State recently released similar propaganda footage from another pocket in Iraq, namely the Hawija region, where ISIS snipers were seen in action.

Click here for an interactive battle map of Iraq and Syria.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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