Joint forces from the army, police and peshmerga renewed operations at dawn along several axes and attacked Daesh positions and captured the villages, the statement said.

At least 299 Daesh terrorists were killed and 20 vehicles bombs and 45 bombs were destroyed, this far, according to the statement.

Last week, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched a much-anticipated offensive to retake Mosul, the last Daesh stronghold in northern Iraq.

The terror group captured Iraq’s second largest city in mid-2014 before overrunning large swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.

Recent months have seen the Iraqi army, backed by local allies on the ground and a U.S.-led air coalition, retake much of the territory seized by Daesh. Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.

In recent weeks, the army and its allies have staged a gradual advance on the city, which officials in Baghdad have vowed to recapture by year’s end.

Anadolu Agency