In Iraq, the battle for Mosul started on the 17th of October in 2016 and is raging on. Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq, and it is the last stronghold of ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq. Because of this, it is predicted that ISIL will have less influence around the world if defeated in Mosul. After taking over Mosul in 2014, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared a global caliphate from the city in June of the same year. Since then, all five of Mosul’s main bridges that connect East Mosul and West Mosul over the Tigris river have been destroyed.
In January of 2017, the eastern part of Mosul was liberated and the battle for the west is currently occurring. The western offensive began on the 19th of February in 2017, and on March 6th, several key government buildings and the al-Hurriya bridge have been reclaimed. A map from Iraq’s Joint Operations Command has estimated that 60 percent of western Mosul has been liberated. When the battle began, it was estimated that there were around 6,000 Isis fighters and over a million citizens.
The United Nations has estimated that of Iraq’s population of 33 million people, 10 percent have been displaced since January of 2014 when ISIL took over large parts of the country. The ongoing battle has displaced over 70,000 people and as many as 800,000 civilians have been caught in the middle of the fighting. The UN has further estimated that the western offensive could potentially displace 400,000 civilians.
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