Iraqi government forces advancing on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul retook a village from IS on Tuesday and linked up along the Tigris river with army units pushing from a separate direction, Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said.
In their battle for the town of Qayara southeast of Mosul Iraqi troops have freed six villages from militants of ISIS in the past two days. Iraqi troops now have under their control the main road that links Qayara to Shargat.
The troops captured the Qayara airfield on Saturday which they intend to use in their final offensive against ISIS in its Mosul stronghold.
The newly retaken territory still needs to be secured since IS insurgents remain holed up in several towns behind the government's front line, a military spokesman said.
The Iraqi army lost control of Mosul and areas around it in the Nineveh plains in the summer of 2014 when ISIS militants launched a blitzkrieg and swept through Iraq’s Sunni heartland.
As it was reported earlier, U.S. Defense Secretary Carter announced the dispatch of 560 additional soldiers to Iraq
, to assist the Iraqi operations towards Mosul.