Iraqi government forces have launched an offensive to liberate the western part of the city of Mosul from so-called I.S. Militants.

Hundreds of military vehicles, backed by air power, rolled across the desert towards the militant positions.

A top commander said. Iraqi forces have retaken two villages south of the city in the first hours of the operation,

The offensive was formally announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who said his forces are coming to Nineveh to liberate the western side of Mosul.

Iraqi forces have now surrounded the western part of Mosul, while the us-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes on I.S. Targets.