Iraqi forces retake six villages from IS around Mosul

| Updated: Nov 22, 2016 22:56 IST

Mosul [Iraq], Nov. 22 (ANI): Iraqi security forces have recaptured six villages in southeast and north of the city of Mosul, while Special Forces continued heavy clashes with the Islamic State (IS) militants in the eastern part of the city. On Monday, the army's 9th armored Division managed to free the three villages of al-Salamiyah, al-Hmeirah and Twajnah al-Jadida, which are located some 20 km southeast of Mosul, after sporadic clashes with IS militants, said a statement from the Joint Operations Command (JOC). In north of Mosul, the army's 16th Division and allied Sunni paramilitary units freed the villages of al-Abbasiyah, Ortta-Kharab and al-Salam, the JOC statement said. The security forces have been fighting to push deeper into the eastern side of the city, locally known as left bank of the Tigris River, but met resistance of the militants, who are fighting in small groups. The troops and explosive experts also defuse dozens of booby-traps planted earlier by the extremist militants in the freed districts, it said. After more than a month of military operations against IS militants inside Mosul, almost 65,000 civilians have fled their homes, reports Xinhua. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on October 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city. Since then, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city. Early in the month, hundreds of the CTS commandos and Iraqi army made a significant progress at the eastern side of Mosul and managed to recapture more than 10 districts out of about 60 districts on both sides of the city. Mosul, some 400 km north of Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under the IS control since June 2014. (ANI)