IRBIL, Iraq (dpa/TNS) - 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.
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.
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.