Sat Oct 29, 2016 04:24PM
Iraqi government forces and fighters from Popular Mobilization Units advance towards the village of Ayn Nasir, southwest of Mosul, on October 29, 2016, during the ongoing battle against Daesh terrorists to liberate the city of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi government forces and fighters from Popular Mobilization Units advance towards the village of Ayn Nasir, southwest of Mosul, on October 29, 2016, during the ongoing battle against Daesh terrorists to liberate the city of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi government soldiers, backed by allied fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, have recaptured more areas and villages around the strategic northern city of Mosul in a large-scale offensive aimed at ending the control of Daesh militants there.

On Saturday, the media bureau of Iraq's Badr Organization announced that the Popular Mobilization Units had liberated the region of Ayn Nasir southwest of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, from the grip of Daesh terrorists.

The pro-government forces also established control over the road linking Hammam al-Alil region to Albu Hammad village.

Additionally, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC) announced that the 9th Division of the Army and units from Nineveh Liberation Operations Command had taken control of the villages of al-Hamidiyah, al-Shorouq, al-Mokhlat and Jayaf southwest of Mosul, and raised the national Iraqi flags over a number of buildings there.

Iraqi security personnel also freed al-Dawajel region and nearby villages on Saturday.

Moreover, Iraqi fighter jets carried out a precision airstrike against an area in Ta’an region, east of Mosul, and destroyed an arms depot and a bomb-making workshop belonging to Daesh terrorists.

An Iraqi army tank drives towards the village of Ayn Nasir, southwest of Mosul, on October 29, 2016, during the ongoing battle against Daesh terrorists to liberate the city of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)

In another Saturday development, Iraqi forces wrested full control over the al-Shoura region, located 45 kilometers south of Mosul, and flew the national flag above several buildings in the area.

Moreover, fighters from Popular Mobilization Units established control over Abu al-Aris and Zuwairaj villages southwest of Mosul.

Popular Mobilization Units also kicked off an operation on Saturday to retake the city of Tal Afar, which is situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul and serves as a supply line between Daesh’s main stronghold in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

“The operation aims to cut supplies between Mosul and Raqqah, and tighten the siege of in Mosul and liberate Tal Afar,” the spokesman for the volunteer forces, Ahmed al-Assadi, said.

Iraqi government forces and fighters from Popular Mobilization Units are deployed outside the village of Ayn Nasir, southwest of Mosul, on October 29, 2016, during the ongoing battle against Daesh terrorists to liberate the city of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)

Assadi said the operation was launched from the Sin al-Dhaban area south of Mosul, and aims to liberate the ancient city of Hatra  as well as the cities of Tal Abta and Tal Afar.

There are reports that about 50,000 Iraqi ground troops are involved in the Mosul offensive, including 30,000 army troops, 10,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the remaining 10,000 from police and Popular Mobilization Units.

Iraqi forces have so far liberated nearly 80 towns and villages ever since they began the decisive battle on October 17.