By Ali Jawad and Hussein al-Amir
Pro-government fighters on Thursday captured four villages and a strategic road west of the northern city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists, according to an Iraqi army officer.
“Hashd al-Shaabi fighters wrested control of the villages of Al-Wahbi, Arfie, Arfie Awwal and Amlihat,” Army First Lieutenant Samir Dawood said.
He added that the Hashd al-Shaabi -- a mostly Shia fighting force incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces last year -- had also captured the road linking the nearby Al-Adnaniyah and Baaj districts.
In a related development, more than 200 civilians were evacuated from Mosul’s Old City, Iraqi Police Captain Jabbar Hassan told Anadolu Agency.
The latest developments come within the context of a wide-ranging army offensive, launched last October, aimed at dislodging Daesh militants from Mosul, which the terrorist group overran in mid-2014.