TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A senior Iraqi military commander said the government forces have retaken 56 villages in west of Mosul since the start of a major offensive to liberate the northern city from Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists.

Jawad al-Talibawi, a commander of the Popular Mobilization units, said on Saturday that the Iraqi forces have so far managed to establish control over 56 villages in their fight against Daesh in Mosul’s western parts, Iraq's al-Masalah news website reported.

He also said that the Arab country’s popular forces have completed the first phase of the Mosul offensive in west, adding that the second phase of the operation is also nearing its end.

The Iraqi troops managed to enter Mosul’s limits earlier this week for the first time since June 2014, when the city fell to Daesh amid a large-scale terror campaign in northern and western Iraq.

So far, a large number of the villages and districts around the city have been purged of the terrorists. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed that the country’s second largest city will be fully recaptured by year-end.

Iraq started the massive offensive against the Takfiri group on Oct. 17.

The recapture of Mosul would mark the Takfiri militants’ effective defeat in the Iraqi half of the territory they seized in 2014.