Tal Afar was one of the most important strongholds was an important step in ridding ISIS from Nineveh province. The Tal Afar ground offensive began on the 20th August 2017, and what followed was a total Daesh collapse, which allowed the Iraqi forces to sweep into the centre of Tal Afar within six days and liberate the whole town within eight days, along with dozens of villages and mountain ranges on the outskirts of the town.
Since the liberation of Tal Afar by Iraqi forces from ISIS militants, residents have taken it upon themselves to breathe life back into the district. In the General Hospital of Tal Afar, people have, despite their own financial difficulties, sacrificed their own time and energy to make sure the hospital runs smoothly. As a result, the main hospital in Tal Afar has been kept running despite severe shortages in resources, staff and finances.
ISIS, during their occupation of large swathes of northern and western Iraq, destroyed governmental, educational and health institutions, as well as the country’s essential infrastructure. Roads and bridges were devastated as a result of war and ISIS’ desperate scorched earth policy.
Hospitals in particular were exposed to ISIS’ brutal violence. However, dozens of doctors have returned to work at the hospital and they are steadily receiving medication. There are hopes that the health sector will gradually improve as more professionals return to the district.
A number of challenges are currently preventing displaced families returning to Tal Afar. The security in the district is still not completely stable with sporadic attacks still being reported. Furthermore, many roads and buildings are littered with landmines and other explosive devices that can detonate at any time. This has been one of the main obstacles for those wishing to return to their houses. Authorities say that more than 45 people have been killed by landmines since August 2017.