Iraqi Kurds Claim Advances Against Islamic State Near Mosul

IRBIL, Iraq (dpa/TNS) -
Kurdish Peshmerga forces fire a rocket toward Islamic State terrorists on the southeast of Mosul , Iraq, on Sunday. (Reuters/Azad Lashkari)
Kurdish Peshmerga forces fire a rocket toward Islamic State terrorists on the southeast of Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday. (Reuters/Azad Lashkari)

Iraqi Kurdish forces Sunday said they have recaptured six villages from Islamic State, about 25 miles southeast of Mosul, the terrorist group’s stronghold.

The Kurdish Peshmerga military said their forces were continuing to advance in an offensive launched early Sunday from the Khazir and Makhmour areas.

A displaced man from south of Mosul gives the coordinates of Islamic State terrorists to Iraqi army personnel south of Mosul on Friday. (Reuters/Stringer)
A displaced man from south of Mosul gives the coordinates of Islamic State terrorists to Iraqi army personnel south of Mosul on Friday. (Reuters/Stringer)

The Peshmerga announcement came a day after forces loyal to the central government in Baghdad said they had taken four villages in the Qayyara area south of Mosul from Islamic State.

Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, was seized by Islamic State in a mid-2014 offensive in which it overran large parts of Sunni Arab-populated western and northern Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed to recapture the city this year and put an end to Islamic State’s presence in Iraq.

An Islamic State terrorist mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul last month. (Reuters/Stringer /File)
An Islamic State terrorist mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul last month. (Reuters/Stringer /File)

In July, government forces captured the Qayyara airbase from Islamic State. The government and the U.S. military say it will be a key staging point for a planned attack on Mosul.