Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:41PM
Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd Division walk behind their vehicles for cover as they engage Daesh militants while pushing into the Aden neighborhood of Mosul on November 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd Division walk behind their vehicles for cover as they engage Daesh militants while pushing into the Aden neighborhood of Mosul on November 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
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Iraqi fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units have reportedly liberated more areas in the embattled northern province of Nineveh as they are joined by government forces in arduous battles to drive the Takfiri Daesh militants out of the conflict-ridden Arab country.

The commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Friday that soldiers from the 9th Division of Special Forces have wrested full control of Tal Waei village south of Mosul, situated 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported.

It came shortly after Iraqi security forces recaptured the village of Omarkan, which lies north of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and slightly over 30 kilometers south of Mosul.

Separately, the media bureau of Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashed al-Sha'abi, has released photographs which show a network of tunnels burrowed deep into the earth close to a former Iraqi Air Force base in the city of Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

Beds can be seen along the tunnel network with rudimentary wiring delivering electricity. The tunnels were apparently used by Daesh members to bring in weapons and supplies for fellow militants occupying the area.

Yusif al-Kallabi, a spokesman for Popular Mobilization Units, told public broadcaster al-Iraqiya on Wednesday that volunteer fighters had liberated Tal Afar airport, dealing a significant blow to Daesh in the campaign to recapture Mosul, situated 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.

“Tal Afar will be the starting block for the liberation of all the area...to the Syrian border and beyond the Syria border,” Secretary General of Iraq's Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri commented in a video clip about the capture of the base.

Also on Friday, volunteer forces cut Daesh’s supply route between Tal Afar air base and the city center. They are now helping Iraqi Army bomb disposal teams in the clearance of the military site and surrounding areas from abandoned explosive ordnance.

Furthermore, Hashed al-Sha’abi fighters are reportedly advancing on the al-Khidr al-Ilyas and al-Zariqi villages in the vicinity of Tal Afar.

After months of preparation, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake Mosul from the Daesh terrorists.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed that Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, will be fully recaptured by year-end.

Iraqis fleeing the Aden neighborhood of Mosul wave white flags as they approach a position held by the 2nd Division of Iraqi Special Forces in Mosul's eastern district of Karkukli on November 18, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

More than 56,000 people have been displaced because of the fighting from villages and towns around the strategic city to government-held areas, according to UN estimates.