Kurdish fighters say they have taken over five key villages from Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) fighters. These villages, located in an area known as Gweir and Makhmour, 28 miles to the south of Erbil, have been changing hands for months.
Iraq's army, backed by Shia and Kurdish fighters and U.S.-led air strikes that started in August, have made some gains against ISIL, pushing back its advance into Kurdish territory. The army last week recaptured towns in Diyala province, on the road from Baghdad to Iran.
At least 50 fighters of the ISIL have also been killed in the past 24 hours in Syria's Kobane, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the biggest loss endured by the group since it launched its assault on the strategic border city on Sept. 16.
ISIL had hoped to quickly seize the small border town and secure its grip on a large stretch of the Syria-Turkey border, but Kurdish Syrian fighters, backed by U.S.-led air strikes and an influx of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, have held back the group. For now, the town remains roughly evenly divided between ISIL and Kurdish control.
The Syrian Observatory said Sunday that the most recent deaths were the result of clashes, suicide bombings and U.S.-led air strikes.
Seventeen additional people were killed in Iraq on Saturday in airstrikes targeting areas controlled by ISIL, witnesses and an intelligence official told Reuters.
Two brothers who were members of the Albu Hishma tribe were mistakenly killed when an Iraqi military helicopter attacked the house of an Islamic State fighter in the Iraqi town of Yathrib, witnesses said.
Fifteen people from the same tribe were then killed in an airstrike as they headed to the funeral of the brothers, said witnesses. Both accounts were confirmed by an intelligence official.
Al Jazeera and wire services