Kurdish forces make hard progress toward Mosul

Over two days of grinding battles, thousands of soldiers liberate a swath of Hamdaniya, highlighting the difficulty of making even incremental gains on the road to Mosul.
A Zerevani unit stops between IS-held villages in the south-east Ninewa plain as part of a two-day offensive to liberate a dozen settlements, Aug. 14, 2016 (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report)

QARQASHAH - Before Mosul can be liberated from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), pro-government forces need to retake dozens of villages in the surrounding plains of Ninewa province.

The latest operation began Sunday, as thousands of Kurdish soldiers set out to secure about 10 villages in the Hamdaniya area of Ninewa, spanning around 110 square kilometers of territory. Iraq Oil Report covered the offensive by embedding with the crew of a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carrier (MRAP), part of a unit of Kurdish Zerevani forces.

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