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Tall 'Afar

Tall 'Afar [Tallafar / Tal Afar] is primarily inhabited by Turkmen. It is located about 40 miles (60 kilometers) from the Syrian border.

On 16 May 2000 Iraqi forces threatened Operation Northern Watch (ONW) coalition aircraft again today. This time, the Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) from sites near Bashiqah, Tall'Afar, and Mosul while ONW aircraft conducted routine enforcement of the Northern No-Fly Zone. Coalition aircraft responded to the Iraqi attacks by dropping ordnance on elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system.

On 16 June 2001 a missile hit a soccer field in this town while a game was under way. The explosion killed 23 people. Determining what exactly happened on that Tuesday in Tall Afar is also made difficult by the fact that no reporters other than those from Iraqi TV were allowed on the site until about a week after the bombing. US military sources said an explosion said to have killed 23 people on a soccer field in northern Iraq was not due to a US-British airstrike, but an errant surface-to-air missile.

Members of the newly elected Tallafar city council took the oath of office 25 October 2003 at their city hall after one of only three truly democratic elections in the history of Iraq. The previous voting method used by coalition forces in Iraq was a stepping-stone toward democracy, officials said. Authorities would select a panel of nominees beforehand, then the nominees would vote amongst themselves. Then between Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) teamed with Iraqi citizens to conduct the first democratic elections held in Iraq since coalition forces have been in the country. The cities of Tallafar, Zumar and Al-Eyaldia in northern Iraq now have the first popularly elected city councils in the country.

On September 9, 2004, Multi-National Forces and Iraqi Security forces initiated operations to restore control of Tal Afar. The operation came after MNF and Iraqi Security forces were repeatedly attacked and local Iraqi Security forces were displaced throughout the weeks prior. According to CENTCOM, the Ninevah Provincial governor, Duraid Kashmoula, had been working with sheikhs and local leaders in the area to bring about peace and stability to the city. But these attempts at a peaceful solution had failed, resulting in the decision by local Iraqi leaders to initiate military operations.

Over 50,000 people left the city before the operation began, which was an indication that something in Tal Afar was not right. More than 3,000 people returned safely to their homes in Tal Afar on 15 September 2004. Basic utilities had been restored to the city. Duraid Kashmoula, Ninevah Province Governor, and Ninevah Province provincial council members determined that the city was safe and allowed residents to begin returning to their homes. Iraqi security forces maintained security in the city. Multi-National Forces and Iraqi security forces continued to work with Iraqi Red Crescent to provide medical assistance and humanitarian aid to the citizens of Tal Afar.

The coordinated offensive operation by Multi-National Forces and Iraqi security troops chased the terrorists out of Tal Afar in northern Iraq, after six months of violence there. Houses were riddled with bullet holes along Route Santa Fe, a main highway running through the outskirts of Tal Afar, used by terrorists to attack Multi-National Forces and Iraqis in previous months.

By late September 2004 residents had returned to their city to begin the process of rebuilding the infrastructure, repairing houses where the terrorists were hiding, repairing electrical lines and reopening businesses, hoping the terrorists are gone for good so they can live in peace.

For the previous six months, civil affairs Soldiers had been restricted from helping the 250,000 residents of Tal Afar because of violence caused by terrorists. Now that the terrorists had left the city, the Soldiers moved in to assess damages and look for ways to aid the rebuilding.

The two focuses were to support the rebuilding of infrastructure that was damaged in the fighting and to improve upon the existing facilities in Tal Afar. Civil affairs Soldiers from the Stryker Brigade, along with Soldiers from the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion and engineers from the 133rd Engineer Battalion, toured sites in the city on Sept. 18 and 19 to determine the extent of damage. They visited electrical and water facilities, police stations and a grain silo to determine the most important projects to assist the people of Tal Afar.

During a visit to the electrical substation, the Soldiers found that much of the city's electrical problems could be fixed with minor repairs. Some of the power lines were brought down in the city and a few transformers were damaged. The local electrical department is already working to fix these problems. The primary concern is power. If they don't have power, the water pumps won't function and their refrigerators won't stay cold.

Many of the people who live on higher ground were not getting water because there was not enough pressure in the lines to reach all the neighborhoods in Tal Afar, a problem officials said existed in the city even before terrorists moved in. To immediately solve this problem, Multi-National Forces rented 20 water trucks to distribute water to the homes that are not receiving it. This was a high impact project we could do immediately to improve the water situation in the city.

To aid the city's policemen who responded to many of the recent attacks, the civil affairs Soldiers provided them with two new vehicles and 140 sets of body armor. Multi-National Forces also repaired the damage that was done to the police academy and one of the police stations during the recent fighting. Most of the damage was minor and the building structures were still intact. The Soldiers also took steps to immediately improve the unemployment rate in the city. About 75 percent of the city's population is unemployed. This poses a problem because terrorists will pay those who are willing to help them carry out attacks. The projects that the civil affairs Soldiers select were contracted to local firms, employing many people from the area. The Soldiers hoped that by giving people jobs they will be less likely to harbor or cooperate with Anti-Iraqi forces.

The absence of terrorists and the cooperation of the local residents will also allow humanitarian aid to be distributed. Before the terrorists left the city, the Soldiers were being attacked each time they tried to help in Tal Afar. At one point, terrorists attacked them as they were distributing aid to the local hospital.

The attack that forced the terrorists to leave and the return of control to the Iraqi security forces marks a new beginning for the people of Tal Afar. Multi-National Forces are working to improve the conditions for people who have been living in a violent atmosphere.

Tal Afar's police force disintegrated in the Fall of 2004 when insurgents overran the police stations. The city's 200 police remain behind the walls of the old Ottoman fortress used as its headquarters. The US military stationed about 500 troops in the area.

By early 2005 entire neighborhoods were in the grip of insurgents. Streets were deserted, vehicular traffic was almost nonexistent, and storefronts were shuttered.

American troops began arriving in April 2005, and nearly 4,000 were in place by mid-May 2005. An IED attack had killed four Task Force Freedom soldiers in Tal Afar on 28 April 2005. Two other Task Force Freedom soldiers were wounded in the Tal Afar IED attack; they were taken to a combat hospital for treatment. The US troops moved around only in Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks.

On 06 June 2005 soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, along with hundreds of Iraqi Army soldiers, began moving door to door to capture or kill insurgents.

Camp Munsan Camp Fulda Camp Sykes

Camp Sykes is located in Tall Afar about 40 miles from the Syrian border. The camp is considered to be one of the most dangerous and inaccesible in all of Iraq. The secular nature of Tall Afar's population has only increased the instability of the area.

Laredo Base

Laredo base is located in the town of Rabiah near the Syrian border. Rabiah is approximately 40 miles NW of Tall Afar. The Rabiah border crossing is a high traffic area and security checks are extensive in order to counter the large influx of foreign insurgents, illegal arms, and the untold amount of funding from abroad.



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