– Kurdish Peshmerga forces on Sunday captured a key road linking the northern Iraqi town of Bashiqa to the Daesh-held Mosul city, reported Anadolu Agency.
“Our forces are now besieging the town from all sides after seizing control of the main road between Bashiqa and Mosul,” Peshmerga officer Shirzad Zajuli told Anadolu Agency.
“The Kurdish forces are now 7 kilometers away from Mosul districts,” he said.
Bashiqa, whose residents are mostly Yazidis, lies 12 km (8 miles) to the northeast of Mosul.
Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched a much-anticipated offensive to retake Mosul, the last Daesh stronghold in northern Iraq.
Daesh captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in mid-2014 before overrunning large swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
Recent months have seen the Iraqi army, backed by local allies on the ground and a U.S.-led air coalition, retake much territory seized by Daesh in 2014. Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
In recent weeks, the army and its allies have staged a gradual advance on the city, which officials in Baghdad have vowed to recapture by year’s end.