UPDATED: Paramilitary forces recapture 4 villages near Syrian borders

Al-Hashd al-Sha’bi during operations in Tal Afar.

Nineveh ( Iraqi pro-government paramilitary troops recaptured four villages on Monday as an operation continues to clear Islamic State-held regions near Iraq’s borders with Syria.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said through its media that troops took over Northern Khazna, Sultan, al-Kabar and Tal al-Sheikh villages, south of the Qayrawan region where PMUs, backed by army fighter jets, launched an offensive four days ago against the Islamic State.

PMUs also invaded the village of Mabhal al-Mahdi, north of Qayrawan, engaging in intense encounters with the militant group.

Khaznah village, Nineveh (google maps)

A handful of villages have been recaptured over the past few days during the operation targeting Qayrawan and neighboring Baaj. The offensive coincides with parallel government battles in the city of Mosul, where only a few districts are left to announce a full recapture of the city and end seven months of fighting.

Iraqi commanders say they predict Mosul to be IS-free before the end of May. They said recently they became in control over 90 percent of territory of the western flan of the city. Government troops retook eastern Mosul in January.

The conflict in Mosul has so far displaced 600.000 registered civilians since operations launched in October 2016. Local officials say there are 600.000 others who sought refuge away from refugee camp.

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