MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Press Shia) – Iraqi Shia militia began to hand over 16 liberated villages in Tal Afar, east of Mosul, to the Iraqi army’s 15th division, according to Hossam Eddin al-Abbar, a member of the Nineveh province council.

“Hashed al-Shaabi forces have begun to hand over 16 liberated villages in Tal Afar, east of Mosul, to the army’s 15th division,” al-Abbar was quoted as saying by the Iraqi News website on Thursday.

The official added that the army would take over these villages, as the group continued to free more villages.

The city of Tel Afar is 50 kilometers (around 31 miles) away from Mosul and is on the strategic route between Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold.

Mosul has been occupied by ISIL, a terrorist group outlawed in Russia, since 2014. The operation to retake the city from the terrorists began on October 17.

SPUTNIK/Press Shia