Kurdish forces have launched a major offensive against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.
Reports said Peshmerga fighters had advanced from five directions and took a commanding position above a critical crossroads at Kiske, 40 km west of Mosul.
The U.S.-led anti-IS coalition backed the operation with air strikes beginning the night before and continuing during the ground attack on January 21.
The Kurdish advance cuts the key road linking the IS strongholds of Mosul and Tal Afar, some 70 kilometers to the west.
Analysts say If the Kurds manage to keep the route blocked, it would help isolate Mosul from the city of Tal Afar, an IS bastion 70 kilometers to the west, and the Syrian border another 100 kilometers further west.
Islamic State also controls much of eastern Syria.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP and Al-Jazeera