US-led coalition aircraft provided support, said Bashar, the spokesman for the operations command in Nineveh, the province in which Qayyarah and Mosul are located.


‘The operation is ongoing and currently achieving its goals,’ CTS spokesman Sabah al-Noman said.


‘Qayyarah will be cleared and the operation wrapped up quickly, bolstering our plans… for the final battle to liberate Mosul,’ he told AFP.


He said Iraqi forces had been working with armed residents inside the town for this offensive, a rare occurrence.


‘There has been coordination with groups of armed residents inside,’ Noman said, declining to provide further details.


Iraqi forces have spent weeks positioning themselves around the town, which is expected to be used as a launchpad for a broader operation against Mosul in the coming weeks or months.


Saleh al-Juburi, the mayor of Qayyarah district, said around 15,000 civilians were believed to be trapped under ISIS rule in the Qayyarah area.


‘There are plans to bring food and medical supplies to those who are still in their homes and did not manage to escape Qayyarah,’ he told AFP.


After retaking Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in June, the main focus of Iraqi security forces is Mosul, which is the country’s second city and ISIS’s de facto capital in Iraq, Daily Mail reported.