Iraqis inspect the damage at a site in the Hamam al-Alil area, about 14 kilometres from the southern outskirts of Mosul. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
November 7, 2016
The battle for Mosul
In June 2014, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) shocked the world by taking over Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. It was a new way of showing a terrorist threat by holding territory. This forced a large number of the city’s population and the Iraqi military to flee. Subsequently, leader of the ISIS group Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi proclaimed his territory to be a caliphate, the Islamic State, at a speech held in Mosul.
Mosul is the last place under ISIS control, while the rest have been taken over by Iraqi government forces.
In March, the Iraqi government declared the launch of a military operation to take back Mosul. However, the movement has not made a lot of progress, reclaiming only a small number of villages with the help of the US military.
Why does Mosul matter
Mosul is ISIS’s most valuable jewel in Iraq. It has the largest Sunni population but the country is politically dominated by Shia majority. The control of ISIS over Mosul means that he took a notable part of Iraqi territory. He is not deemed defeated in Iraq till Mosul falls. In addition, Mosul is in a strategic location, the city controls access to surrounding areas. These include, north into Turkey, east into Iran and west into Syria.
2016 has been a rough ride for ISIS in Iran. In January it lost the provincial capital of Anbar, Ramadi. In June it lost Fallujah, the longest city it held more than any other. It lost 12 percent of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that it had controlled in comparison to the beginning of the year. Mosul is ISIS’s last hope, if it goes down then al-Qaeda will be proven right and ISIS will be wrong.
The story has been covered by the Guardian and BBC network.
- The Guardian published a news story focusing on Kurdish forces entering Mosul and exchanging fire with militants.
- The BBC has posted a similar article of the Kurdish forces but goes into more detail with links and videos.
How the story might develop:
- The fightings will be more intense when troops move into Mosul
- There will be less forces on the frontline in the future
- Many citizens are said to leave the city in the up coming days or maybe weeks as the army marches into Mosul