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

More from World

HRW decries Russia and Saudi Arabia's candidacy for UN rights body

Russia and Saudi Arabia's re-election to serve on the UN Human Rights Council would undermine the body's credibility...

Expert: UN avoiding responsibility for Haiti cholera is a "disgrace"

The reluctance of the United Nations to accept responsibility for allegedly causing the 2010 cholera outbreak in...

Turkish authorities arrest mayor of Diyarbakir

The mayor of Diyarbakir, a major city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish south-east, has been detained on suspicion...

Trump: "We're very close or winning"

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump maintains that his campaign is "very close or winning" with just...

Dozens of Iraqi civilians found dead outside of Mosul, the UN says

The bullet-ridden bodies of dozens of civilians have reportedly been found near Mosul by Iraqi security services,...