Saudi Arabia hails liberation of Tal Afar from Daesh

Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) patrol a road in Tal Afar's Qalea central district during an operation to retake the city from the Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 28 August 2017
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Saudi Arabia hails liberation of Tal Afar from Daesh

JEDDAH/BAGHDAD: Saudi Arabia on Sunday congratulated the government and the people of Iraq for liberating Tal Afar from Daesh terrorists.
The loss of Tal Afar, in northern Iraq between Mosul and the Syrian border, will deprive Daesh of what was once a significant hub for movement between the Syrian and Iraqi components of the self-styled “caliphate” it declared three years ago.
An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s support for Iraq “in all its capacities to combat and eradicate terrorism and extremism,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The Iraqi military earlier said it had “fully liberated” Tal Afar’s town center from Daesh.
Pockets of resistance remain but the announcement brings Iraqi forces a step closer to taking full control of one of the extremists’ last strongholds in Iraq.
The military statement added that troops had captured all of the town’s neighborhoods but were heading to Al-Ayadia district, about 10 km northwest of Tal Afar, to pursue a group of terrorists who fled.
Just a week after authorities announced an offensive to push the terrorists from one of their last major urban strongholds in Iraq, the Joint Operations Command said Iraqi forces held all 29 districts of the city and were pursuing final mopping up operations.
Pro-government fighters could already be seen celebrating, waving Iraqi flags and flashing victory signs as their tanks rolled through the streets.
The offensive comes just weeks after Iraqi forces retook second city Mosul from Daesh, in their biggest victory since the terrorists seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq in mid-2014.
Much of that territory has since been retaken with support from coalition air strikes, and IS is also facing a major US-backed offensive against its de facto Syrian capital Raqqa.
On Saturday, Iraqi forces took control of the city center and Tal Afar’s Ottoman-era citadel.
Nearby, a huge crater could be seen on Sunday at the base of the city’s main mosque, a testament to the intensity of the air strikes that battered the city.
Surrounding buildings still featured religious slogans written by the jihadists and an IS flag lay upside down on the ground.
Government troops and units of the Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary coalition launched the assault after weeks of coalition and Iraqi airstrikes.
Progress in Tal Afar was far more rapid than in Mosul, which fell to Iraqi forces only after a grueling nine-month battle.
Officials have said they hope to announce victory by Eid Al-Adha set to start in Iraq on Sept. 2.
The next target in the area was the town of Al-Ayadieh 15 km north of Tal Afar and strategically located on the road between the city and the Syrian border.
Pro-government forces faced an obstacle course of roads blocked with earth embankments and strategically parked trucks, as well as sniper and mortar fire during the battle for Tal Afar.
Troops also said they discovered a network of underground tunnels used by Daesh to launch attacks behind lines of already conquered territory, or to escape.
Once Tal Afar is retaken, Baghdad is expected to launch a new offensive on Hawija, about 300 km north of the Iraqi capital.
The coalition has announced carrying out strikes near Hawija in recent days, including two that killed Daesh fighters and destroyed a command post.
Daesh is also present in the vast western province of Anbar, where it controls several zones along the border with Syria, including the Al-Qaim area.
Despite its losses in Iraq and Syria, Daesh has continued to claim responsibility for attacks carried out by its members or supporters abroad, including this month’s deadly attacks in Spain and knife attacks in Russia and Brussels.


Innovation in manufacturing and communication the focus for Tanween's second weekend

Updated 18 October 2018
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Innovation in manufacturing and communication the focus for Tanween's second weekend

AL-DHAHRAN: Innovation in manufacturing and communication are the focus on Thursday and Friday at the second weekend of Tanween by Ithra, a 17-day gathering of the brightest and most creative minds in Saudi Arabia.
Following the overwhelming turnout of students and professionals from all over the Kingdom at the launch weekend, the Creativity Season’s second weeke program focuses on manufacturing and communication and is designed for Saudis to be inspired by influential speakers from around the world, engage in hands-on futuristic workshops, as well as be creative by transforming their ideas to reality.

The Tanween Talks will introduce bold, innovative concepts and trends from artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual media. Science and fiction come together in presentations from biodesign pioneer and STEM innovator Natsai Chieza; and Professor Manfred Hild, a global research leader in humanoid robotics. Workshops including “Future as Big as Your Imagination” and “Saudi After Oil” will further provoke, stimulate and prepare audiences for a rapidly evolving future, as the impact of technology takes effect. The weekend will also present visitors with the one-of-a-kind opportunity to be a creative entrepreneur and turn their ideas into reality with the “Design, Manufacture and Go to Market” workshop.
Family-friendly shows, exhibits and installations featuring future technologies will run the duration of the Creativity Season. Slava’s Snow Show, an award-winning Russian theatrical performance combining pathos and comedy for all ages will round off the weekend that will also feature performances such as Bamboo Nonsense Instrumental Show and Project 2, a live spontaneous science fiction theater.
Site-specific installations such as “Sketch Aquarium” at the Children’s Museum will pop up as part of the Creativity Season, presenting visitors of all age groups a unique opportunity to interact, observe and enjoy the works of art that have been curated to celebrate the first edition.
At Ithra’s Great Hall, 25 outstanding examples of work from the world of art, technology, science and fashion — including a Tilt Brush interactive experience by Google, Studio Drift’s free-floating concrete monolith Drifter and Studio Swine’s multi-sensory waterfall — will offer fresh insights into contemporary design, encouraging visitors to explore new possibilities and discover new perspectives.
The second week will also see a colorful celebration of daytime fireworks on Friday at 4.00pm. The event will be open for public free of charge and will take place at Ithra Lush Gardens.

Tickets & Pricing
Tanween Talks
Tickets to Tanween Talks are priced at SAR 35 for a day pass allowing ticket holders to attend an unlimited number of talks on the day. Tanween Talks attendees must be at least 14-years-old.

Tanween Exhibits
Day pass tickets to ‘Sense and Sensibility’ Exhibit in the Great Hall are priced at SAR 25 for adults and SAR 15 for children. Museum tickets are priced at SAR 35 for adults and SAR 10 for children. A Tanween Exhibits Ticket provides visitors access to both the Great Hall and the Museum at SAR 50 for adults and SAR 25 for children.

Workshops
Workshops are categorized as Inspire, Enthusiast and Premium.
Inspire workshops are free.
Enthusiast workshops are priced at SAR 100 per workshop.
Premium workshops are priced at SAR 200 per workshop.
Workshop attendees must be at least 16-years-old.
Special workshops for children between 6- and 10-years are available. Please refer to www.ithra.com for more information.

Children’s Museum
Tickets to the Children’s Museum are priced at SAR 55 for children and SAR 20 for adults.