TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as Popular Mobilization Forces, liberated 30 square kilometers west of Mosul from the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group as part of a massive operation to retake the northern city from the foreign-backed militants.

The Popular Mobilization Forces managed to advance in rebel-held areas in southwestern Mosul over the past hours, the Arabic-language Al Mayadeen TV reported on Tuesday.

The forces have liberated a number of villages, including Imam Hamza and Um Sijan, from the Takfiri terrorists, according to the report.

The Iraqi army, backed by Federal Police and Hashd al-Shaabi, launched the offensive on October 16 aimed at wresting Mosul from the hands of Daesh.

“The time has come for the greatest victory,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on the same day on state TV. “I announce the start of Liberating Mosul Operation, by the will of Iraqis, and after depending on Allah.”

Al-Abadi said that Daesh would be “punished” for its crimes and that the province's cities and villages will be rebuilt.

In recent years, Iraq has been facing the threat of terrorism, mainly posed by the Daesh terrorist group.

Daesh militants made swift advances in much of northern and western Iraq over the summer of 2014, after capturing large swaths of northern Syria.

However, a combination of concentrated attacks by the Iraqi military and the volunteer forces, who rushed to take arms after top Iraqi cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling for fight against the militants, blunted the edge of Daesh offensive.