Islamic State declares Tal Afar as independent state from caliphate

Tal Afar – Islamic State has announced Tal Afar town, located west of Mosul, as an independent state from the proclaimed caliphate, according to a local source from Nineveh province.

“IS leadership in Tal Afar declared in a brief statement that the town has become an independent state from the caliphate and threatened strict punishment against whoever violates order,” the source told AlSumaria News on Wednesday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said “Tal Afar has been completely controlled by Arabs and foreigners with no local leaders in the wake of the mass executions that was carried out over the past few weeks.”

The group, according to the source, considered the town as independent with its leaders, which marks a sudden development that comes one day after the group announced the murder of its supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

News reports circulated over the past few weeks have claimed that Baghdadi was killed in an airstrike in Syria.

Earlier this week, news reports mentioned that the group issued a brief statement in Tal Afar announcing that all the IS departments are working through alternative headquarters at the town, indicating the group’s defeat in Mosul city.

In late June, a top leader in the town declared during a a sermon of Friday prayer that the town has become a temporary headquarter for the Caliphate.

On Friday, the group reportedly canceled the Friday prayers at all mosques in the town after a curfew was imposed in the wake of heavy shelling against procession of a prominent Arab leader there.

A source was quoted last week as saying that non-Iraqi IS militants executed the last local leader in Tal Afar and the town is currently run by Arab and foreign members after eliminating all the Iraqi leaders.

Tal Afar is one of the important strongholds still held by IS in Nineveh since August 2014.

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