Iraqi forces on Thursday retook the town of Hadhar, southwest of Mosul, on the third day of an operation that saw them wrest back a nearby UNESCO-listed ancient city, a statement said.
Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) paramilitary forces said they had flushed ISIL terrorist group out of Hadhar, which lies 120 kilometers (80 miles) from Mosul.
The top army commander coordinating the six-month-old offensive to retake the Mosul area from the terrorists, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah, said the “Hashed al-Shaabi forces fully liberated Hadhar town in record time.”
He was quoted in a statement from the Joint Operations Command as saying that the Iraqi flag was raised above key buildings in the town following a battle during which “heavy losses” were inflicted on the terrorists.
The Hashed forces, which are dominated by Iran-backed militia groups, had retaken the nearby archaeological site of Hadhar on Wednesday.
The ancient city is one of the heritage jewels of Iraq and was damaged by ISIL after they took over large parts of the country three years ago, although the extent of the destruction remains unclear.