Iraqi Forces Regain Three Villages Near Qayyarah

Iraqi Forces Regain Three Villages Near Qayyarah

The Iraqi army, along with counter-terrorism forces, regained three more villages near the sub-district of Qayyarah south of Mosul as part of operations to liberate the city of Mosul.

A correspondent from said Iraqi forces regained control of Azabiya, Saran and Hanka villages from Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

He added Iraqi forces will reach the banks of the Euphrates River near Qayyarah after forces regain control of the villages of Jadala and Azhiliya.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed on Sunday that government forces had seized back control of a major airbase, a staging post on their way to the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.

Special forces and regular troops, under air cover from the U.S.-led coalition, entered Qayyarah airbase from the south and found fighters from the militant group appeared to have fled, said a senior army officer from the frontline.

The army has long said it wants to use the airbase as a launchpad for the recapture of Mosul about 60 km (40 miles) further north.

Two years since that land-grab, the tide has begun to turn against ISIS as an array of forces lined up against it make inroads into their territory. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pledged to retake Mosul this year.