World Bulletin / News Desk
One day earlier, Iraqi counter-extremism forces captured Mosul’s eastern Kokjeli district, along with the Al-Shallalat area, considered the northern gateway into the city.
Major-General Sami al-Aredi, a commander of Iraq’s counter-extremism forces, said in a televised statement that civilian residents -- including women and children -- had been evacuated from Mosul’s eastern Al-Karama and Kokjeli districts to displacement camps on the city’s outskirts.
"Counter-extremism forces are advancing in Al-Karama with a view to totally liberating the district [from ISIL]," al-Aredi said.
Colonel Ahmed al-Jabouri, an army officer, told Anadolu Agency that army forces had also launched a parallel operation aimed at recapturing Mosul’s southern Hamma al-Alil district.
According to al-Jabouri, Iraqi forces have already "liberated" two villages lying southwest of the district.
Located almost 30 kilometers south of Mosul, Hamma al-Alil is the last district in the area to remain under ISIL control.
The district’s recapture is expected to pave the way for a broad Iraqi army advance on Mosul city’s southern neighborhoods.
In a related development Wednesday, the Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias, announced it had taken another four villages west of Mosul from ISIL militants.
On Oct. 18, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes -- launched a wide-ranging operation aimed at retaking Mosul, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.