Iraqi civilians gather on July 27, 2016 at a camp for displaced people in the district of Hajaj after fleeing the towns of Shirqat and Qayyaya south of the city of Mosul during reported fighting between Iraqi security forces and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi military and volunteer forces have reached the center of a strategic town near the Daesh stronghold of Mosul.
On Thursday, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units, seized the center of Shirqat, a key town located 100 kilometers south of Mosul, according to a source with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command in Salahuddin Province.
The Arabic-language al-Sumeria television network, meanwhile, said the Iraqi forces had taken control of the governor’s office in the town and had hoisted the Iraqi flag over the building. The network also said the town had been “liberated.” It seems, however, that areas of the town still remain to be purged of the terrorists.
Three army personnel were purportedly killed during the clashes with the Takfiris in the town.
Army troops and allied fighters had earlier managed to free villages surrounding Shirqat.
An Iraqi military helicopter flies above the vehicles of the Popular Mobilization Units during an operation in Iraq, March 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Mosul, which is the second largest city in Iraq, has been under Daesh control for more than two years.
Iraqi security forces have been closing in on the city in recent operations to retake it.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh Takfiris launched an offensive in the country in June 2014, and took control of portions of Iraqi territory.

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