Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have liberated five villages near Mosul from Daesh militants as army troops and allied fighters are battling to drive the rebel fighters out of the militant-held northern city.
Peshmerga launched an operation in Khazar region east of Mosul at around 5:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, and managed to establish full control over the villages of Tal Hamid, Qarqasha, Abzakh and Dasht Takh following fierce exchanges of gunfire with Daesh militants, Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported.
The report added that two vehicles rigged with explosives were destroyed during the operations. It, however, stopped short of specifying casualties on the ranks of Daesh and Kurdish forces.
Kurdish sources, requesting anonymity, said Peshmerga troopers are poised to recapture at least 11 villages from Daesh during Sunday’s offensive.
Having suffered severe blows on the battleground near Mosul, Daesh fighters have stepped up their acts of terror against civilians and security forces there.
In another development on Saturday, Iraqi media quoted Amir Wasiq, a senior police official in Nineveh Province, as saying that Daesh militants executed 60 ex-officers for cooperating with Iraqi intelligence services in an area south of Mosul.
Mosul fell into the hands of the Islamist extremists in June 2014 when they launched an offensive in Iraq.
Hisham al-Hashimi, a consultant to the Baghdad government on the anti-Daesh campaign, recently said a large-scale offensive for the liberation of Mosul was slated for late September.
Last week, Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said high-ranking Daesh militant commanders and their families had sold their belongings and fled Mosul as Iraqi forces were closing in on the city.
The Iraqi army and fighters from the Popular Mobilization units have been engaged in joint operations to retake militant-held regions.
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