Iraqi Kurds claim advances against Islamic State near Mosul

Iraqi Kurdish forces Sunday said they have recaptured six villages from Islamic State, some 40 kilometres south-east of the extremist group's stronghold of Mosul.

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

The Peshmerga announcement comes 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 the militants.

Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, was seized by Islamic State in a mid-2014 offensive that saw it overrun swathes of Sunni Arab-populated western and northern Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to recapture the city this year and put an end to the organization's presence in Iraq.

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

Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes have regained much ground from Islamic State over the past year, though analysts warn any offensive on the city is likely to be very difficult.

Last update: Sun, 14/08/2016 - 16:57

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