As Iraqi forces prepare to launch their offensive to retake west Mosul, at least six villages were retaken from ISIS militants near the area.
The campaign’s commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah confirmed in a statement on Sunday that factions from the federal forces were able to recapture the key village of Athba, situated on the main road connecting Mosul to Baghdad.
Iraqi government forces last month cleared the eastern side, and while fewer people than feared fled their homes, the UN said a total of 217,000 people have been displaced since the broader Mosul operation started on October 17.
It also said a total of 57,000 had already returned to their homes.
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