Iraqi commanders say their forces have pushed Islamic State militants out of a small town south of Mosul and are now 20 miles from the city centre.
Maj Gen Najim al-Jabori said on Thursday that Iraqi army forces retook the town of Staff al-Tut in the Tigris River valley the day before.
He says local tribal and militia forces have been deployed to protect the gains while his troops regroup for their next push toward Iraq's second largest city.
Iraqi special forces dug in east of Mosul say they are awaiting further progress on the southern front before pressing forward.
They have pushed to within five miles of the city.
Iraqi commanders say IS militants south of Mosul have been withdrawing north toward the city, taking hundreds of civilians with them to use as human shields.