The area was recaptured as part of an offensive to retake Mosul – Iraq's second-largest city and the only remaining Isis (Daesh) stronghold in the country.

In a statement, an Iraqi spokesman said: "Troops from the Ninth Armoured Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings."

Nimrud was one of the great centres of the ancient Middle East. It was founded in the 13th century BC and became the capital of the Assyrian empire.

Its rulers built numerous monuments which discovered by Western archaeologists in 1820 and frequently looted over the centuries.

The Unesco-listed site was damaged in the 2003 American invasion and was invaded by IS militants in 2014.

In April last year, IS posted video on the internet of its fighters sledgehammering monuments before planting explosives around the site and blowing it up.

On Saturday (12 November), the Iraqi army also confirmed that its forces, with the backing of the US, took control of Al Qadisiyah and Al Bakr districts to the east of the city among "intense" fighting and suicide bombings.

More to follow…