Kurdish Peshmerga forces claimed to have captured several villages on the outskirt of Mosul, as they pushed to retake the last major city in Iraq under the Islamic State’s control.
In a massive offensive backed by US air strikes Kurdish and Iraqi government troops advanced towards the city on Sunday. More than 5,000 Kurdish troops are involved in the operation, said a commander to the BBC.
The Kurdistan regional security council said in a statement that the operation “is one of many shaping operations that will also increase pressure on [ISIS] in and around Mosul”.
At least two car bombs were deployed towards Kurdish lines by Islamic State, as it attempts to hold on to the largest urban centre under its control.
The United Nations warned however that the operation may result in “the biggest, most sensitive humanitarian crisis in the world”. Up to one million people could be displaced from their homes due to the fighting said the International Committee of the Red Cross last month.