Kurdish forces have launched a new push on Mosul as part of a massive Iraqi operation aimed at retaking the country's second largest city from the Islamic State group.

The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, said they launched a dawn offensive Sunday on two fronts to the northeast of Mosul, near the town of Bashiqa.

Over the last week, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been battling IS in a belt of mostly uninhabited towns and villages around Mosul, contending with roadside bombs, snipers and suicide truck bombs.

The Mosul offensive involves more than 25,000 Iraqi ground forces as well as U.S.-led coalition aircraft and advisers. It is expected to take weeks, if not months, to drive IS from Mosul, which is home to more than a million civilians.