By Othman al-Shalash, Suleiman al-Qubeisi and Ibrahim Saleh
Iraqi security forces and their local tribal allies on Wednesday recaptured 15 villages from the Daesh terrorist group in the country’s northern and western regions, according to local security officials.
"Iraqi forces have retaken 12 villages from Daesh [in the north-central Saladin province] and are now only four kilometers from the administrative border of the town of Al-Shirqat," Colonel Khaled al-Jabouri, an army commander in Saladin, told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Jabouri added that clashes were still ongoing with Daesh, which, he said, remains in possession of Al-Shirqat.
Meanwhile, Malullah al-Obeidi, a tribal leader in Iraq’s western Anbar province, told Anadolu Agency that the army -- backed by pro-government tribal fighters -- had managed to "liberate" three Daesh-held villages some 90 kilometers west of Ramadi.
Ramadi is the regional capital of Anbar province.
According to al-Obeidi, Iraqi forces and their tribal allies are now advancing toward Anbar’s Al-Baghdadi district.
Iraq’s security situation has deteriorated markedly since mid-2014, when Daesh captured Mosul -- the country’s second largest city -- along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- has since managed to retake much territory. Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
Iraqi officials have repeatedly vowed to recapture Mosul by year’s end.