By Ali Jawwad
Iraqi forces have recaptured Daesh-held Qayyara district in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced Thursday.
"Our heroic forces have achieved a great victory and made an important step on the path to liberate Mosul,” al-Abadi said in a televised speech.
"I congratulate the Iraqi people on liberating this strategic district,” he added.
Backed by U.S.-led warplanes, Iraqi troops launched an operation on Tuesday to liberate Qayyara, a strategically important area for Iraqi forces planning to capture Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from Daesh.
Qayyarah is the largest area in the northern Nineveh province and has an oil refinery with a capacity of 16,000 barrels per day.
Iraqi general Moen al-Saadi earlier told Anadolu Agency that Iraqi forces have fully seized control of the center of Qayyara district.
Daesh group has seized control of vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014. Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led warplanes, however, have managed to retake most of the territory.