Iraq Security
Members of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) prepare before going out on a patrol in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar, south of BaghdadReuters

Iraqi and Peshmerga forces have reportedly wrested key areas of northern and southern Iraq from Isis (Islamic State) militants following 22 US-led air strikes.

Kurdish forces said on Saturday that they recaptured several towns and villages held by Isis in the north, while Iraqi government forces said they reclaimed the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, 50km south of Baghdad.

The US Central Command said the Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces were backed by several air strikes by US-led forces on Friday and Saturday.

The air strikes targeted Isis forces in Mosul in the north, Fallujah in the western Anbar province, and the oil-rich area around Baiji.

US warplanes also destroyed an Islamic State artillery piece near the besieged town of Kobani in Syria. Reports from Kobani suggested Islamic State fighters attacking the town may have used an unidentified chemical weapon.

A Kurdish intelligence officer told Reuters that his forces launched their advance on Zumar near Mosul from five directions after US air strikes hit Islamist targets.

Iraqi state television said at least 50 Islamic State fighters were killed and 10 vehicles destroyed in the raids.

Government forces said that as well as Jurf al-Sakhr, they are also in control of the Shia towns of Najaf and Kerbala.

Provincial governor Sadiq Madloul told Reuters: "We have managed to push out Islamic State terrorists from the town of Jurf al-Sakhar today and now we are raising the Iraqi flag over the government offices."

Some Isis fighters fled towards the western city of Fallujah, while fighting still raged near a bridge linking Jurf al-Sakhar to Anbar.

Raad Hamza, head of the Hilla Provincial Council, said: "There has been a significant collapse among Islamic State fighters. Attacks by Iraqi army helicopters have not stopped since yesterday."

On Thursday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said US-led strikes in Syria have killed over 500 militants and 32 civilians.