Iraqi forces recapture a village in Nineveh province as part of the first phase of an offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Iraqi army makes modest advance south of Mosul
NATURAL ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION).
Iraqis armed forces backed by U.S.-led coalition air power captured a village in Nineveh province from Islamic State on Wednesday, the first advance on the northern front since the offensive was paused three weeks ago.
Mahana, south of a main east-west road, became the fourth village seized by the army in the Makhmour area, which is set to be a staging ground for a future assault on Mosul, about 60 km (40 miles) further north.
The advance brings Iraqi forces slightly closer to the oil town of Qayyara on the western banks of the Tigris River, control over which would help to isolate Mosul, the largest city held by the militants, from territory they control further south and east.
The army suffered no casualties from the advance, which was backed by artillery and air strikes, it added.
The offensive’s faltering start has cast renewed doubt on the capabilities of the Iraqi army, which partially collapsed when Islamic State seized around a third of the country in 2014.
It was not immediately clear what had enabled the forces to push further west, but the commander in charge of the offensive told Reuters the army was limited from advancing further on Wednesday by the lack of federal police units and additional tribal forces to hold territory after it is taken.