Iraqi pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units have registered more territorial gains against Daesh terrorists west of Mosul as they continue their joint operations with army soldiers to flush the extremists out of the country’s second largest city.
The media bureau of the volunteer forces, commonly known by the Arabic world Hashd al-Sha’abi, announced in a statement on Tuesday that the fighters had regained control over at least 17 villages, including Hassanan, Umm Kharab, Abu Rasin, Umm al-Zobaa', and Tal Mas’ada, near the mainly Shia-populated town of al-Ba'aj.
The statement added that Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had earlier managed to rescue 200 families and 10,000 sheep from combat zones south of Ba'ja.
The pro-government forces evacuated all the families in addition to their livestock to safe areas.
Meanwhile, Shaker al-Rishawi, a senior commander of the tribal mobilization forces in the troubled western province of Anbar, told al-Sumaria television network on Tuesday that Daesh Takfiris had blown up two pivotal bridges on the international highway in the province.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
Jens Laerka, the spokesperson of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on May 30 that nearly 600,000 civilians have been displaced amid the operation by Iraq's military and volunteer fighters to drive Daesh terrorists out of western Mosul.
He added that there are still major humanitarian concerns regarding the protection of 180,000 people, who are still besieged inside Mosul’s Old City and other districts north of the city.