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Iraqi forces capture district in province north of capital

Iraqi forces are currently trying to head to Qayyarah Airfield West before embarking a full-fledged operation to liberate Mosul

Published: Updated:

Makhool, a district in the province of Salah Al-Din which lies north of Baghdad, has been recaptured from ISIS militants on Friday, the Iraqi government said in a statement.

“The Iraqi forces raised an Iraqi flag at the center of the district after making the enemy incur human and equipment losses,” the statement read.

Iraqi security forces backed by volunteer forces were able to claim control over Makhool’s surrounding mountains more than four months ago after heavy clashes with ISIS.

Salah al-Din is on the border with Nineveh province where Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul is located. Mosul fell under ISIS control since June 2014.

Iraqi forces are currently trying to head to Qayyarah Airfield West, a former Iraqi air force base in Nineveh, before embarking a full-fledged operation to liberate Mosul.

On Thursday, Iraqi commanders were also preparing to dislodge ISIS fighters from pockets of territory in Fallujah’s northern and western neighborhoods where the militants have dug in after largely fleeing their positions in the city center last week.

Before Iraqi forces rolled into central Fallujah under cover of US-led coalition airstrikes, they were bogged down for weeks, trying to push through deep defensive trenches, tunnels and houses converted into bunkers by ISIS militants on the city’s southern edge. Now looking to the city’s north, Iraqi commanders expect to encounter a similarly fierce fight.