MOSUL, Iraq, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units recaptured seven villages from Islamic State (IS) militants on Sunday in western Mosul, the Iraqi military said.
The predominantly Shiite Hashd Shaabi units, backed by army helicopters, freed four villages scattered in south of the town of al-Qairwan, which located in the rugged sprawling area south of Sinjar, about 100 km west of Mosul, said the Hashd Shaabi units in a statement.
In north of al-Qairwan, the Hashd Shaabi units carried out an overnight progress and cut off the supply route between the IS-held villages of al-Hatmiya and Tal Qasab, the statement said.
In the morning, the paramilitary units stormed the village of Tal Qasab and seized it after clashes with IS militants, killing 10 IS militants and destroying two booby-trapped cars, while fierce clashes around al-Hatmiya still underway, the statement added.
The units also freed the villages of Ayn Fat'hi and Ayn Ghazal in north of the militants-seized town of al-Qairwan, according to the statement
The units currently isolated al-Qairwan and are preparing to free the town from IS militants in order to advance further to the west to liberate the other militants-seized town of Baaj, 25 km west of al-Qairwan.
The operation enabled the Hashd Shaabi units to secure the border areas between Iraq and neighboring Syria and cut off the IS's supply routes between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the IS's self-declared caliphate.
Furthermore, the operation came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS international coalition, were simultaneously conducting a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their major stronghold in western Mosul.
Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to control parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.