Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have liberated five villages near Mosul from Takfiri Daesh militants as army troops and allied fighters are battling to drive the terrorists 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 (0230 GMT) 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.
A local source in Nineveh Province, where Mosul is located, told al-Sumaria news channel on Sunday that 40 Daesh terrorists were killed and 25 were injured in the clashes. The source added that some foreign militants were among those killed.
Two vehicles rigged with explosives were also destroyed during the operations.
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 terrorists 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 Takfiri terrorists 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.