A Belgian special forces soldier in Tal Afar. Balint Szlanko / AP

The Iraqi government announced the liberation of Tal Afar Thursday in what Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq is calling a "swift and decisive victory." Tal Afar is a city to the west of Mosul — Iraq's second-largest city which was liberated last month after a prolonged battle. The Tal Afar offensive began August 20.

Why it matters: Tal Afar produced some of ISIS's most senior commanders, per Reuters, and British army Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones told reporters last week that liberating Tal Afar would essentially put an end to ISIS in northern Iraq.

Other progress
  • Hezbollah has declared "mission accomplished" in Lebanon, after becoming the first battlefield enemy along with the Lebanese army to strike a peace deal with ISIS.
  • Syrian Democratic Forces have reclaimed about 60% of Raqqa, the "capital" of ISIS, per the Pentagon.
  • About 90% of Iraqi territory once held by ISIS has been reclaimed, per U.S. Central Command.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 20,620,847 — Total deaths: 748,416— Total recoveries: 12,770,718Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,197,000 — Total deaths: 166,026 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America's two-sided COVID-19 response America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Bob Woodward's new book details letters between Trump and Kim Jong-un

Bob Woodward during a 2019 event in Los Angele. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Journalist Bob Woodward has obtained "25 personal letters exchanged" between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his new book, "Rage," publisher Simon & Schuster revealed on Wednesday.

Details: In the letters, "Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a 'fantasy film,' as the two leaders engage in an extraordinary diplomatic minuet," according to a description of the book posted on Amazon.

Dozens of Confederate symbols removed in wake of George Floyd's death

A statue of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia, in June. Photo: Parker Michels-Boyce/AFP via Getty Images

59 Confederate symbols have been removed, relocated or renamed since anti-racism protests began over George Floyd's death, a new Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report finds.

Why it matters: That's a marked increase on previous years, per the report, which points out just 16 Confederate monuments were affected in 2019.