By Hussein al-Amir
The Iraqi army Wednesday announced the recapture of two more villages of western Mosul from the Daesh terrorist group.
“The army’s 9th Armored Division has liberated the villages of Al-Yaseen and Arihla in [western Mosul’s] northern Badush district,” Staff Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of the ongoing Mosul campaign, said in a statement.
According to Army First Lieutenant Samir Dawood, at least 12 Daesh militants were killed in the operation.
Troops from the 9th Division, Dawood told Anadolu Agency, “managed to retake the two villages after besieging them for several hours with support from the U.S.-led air coalition, which struck four Daesh targets”.
The Pentagon hailed the success of Iraq's security forces, saying the fight they are engaged in would be hard even for the U.S. Army.
"It is truly inspiring to see their dedication and commitment to liberating their homeland, and the care and concern they are showing to protect their fellow citizens," spokesman Jeff Davis told reporters Wednesday.
In mid-February, Iraqi forces -- backed by the U.S.-led coalition -- began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh militants from western Mosul, the terrorist group’s last bastion in northern Iraq.
The offensive is part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the entire city, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.
*Anadolu Agency Washington Correspondent Michael Hernandez contributed to this report