Baaj (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi paramilitary troops recaptured another village on Sunday as they continue to clear Islamic State holdouts west of Mosul and near the borders with Syria.
Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said on its media website that troops took over al-Qahtaniya area, north of Baaj, and were combing the area to entirely eliminate militants.
PMUs, an alliance of more than 60 mostly Shia militias, are recognized by the government as a national force under the Prime Minister’s command. They have been actively engaged in the campaign against Islamic State militants in Nineveh’s western regions.
Al-Hashd has recaptured several villages since it launched an operation earlier this month to clear Qairawan and neighboring Baaj from IS. A top leader said last week Qairawan was totally liberated. Al-Hashd had said the region became isolated from Mosul and from IS havens in Syria.
Their campaign runs simultaneously with government troops operations in Mosul, Islamic State’s largest stronghold in Iraq. Security forces are currently invading the last districts held by IS in western Mosul, targeting the strategic Old City where IS first declared the inception of its proclaimed “caliphate”.
Iraqi commanders were recently quoted predicting the campaign to realize victory within a few days.