Mosul offensive : Crossing the Tigris in Mosul

 Residents of Mosul cross the Tigris River on small wooden boats after flooding made all the bridges in the Iraqi city impassable.

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Mosul Offensive : An Unexpected Encounter in the City’s Ruins

 Mosul’s wrecked roads, bridges and broader economy will take at least five years to repair and need billions of dollars of development that Iraq’s government will struggle to afford, officials returning to the battle-scarred city said

Bridge offers escape out of Mosul

Iraq’s army has built a pontoon bridge over the Tigris river south of Mosul, after flooding had blocked all crossing points, opening an escape route for families fleeing the fighting.

Iraqi forces edge further into Mosul

Iraqi forces said they had seized ground inside Mosul’s Old City, a district expected to see some of the fiercest clashes in the battle for the militant stronghold. An operation began on February 19 to retake Mosul’s west, the last major Islamic State group urban bastion in the country, which includes the Old City. Iraqi forces have since retaken several neighbourhoods despite bad weather that has hampered air support.
But as they close in on the ancient central district they face particular difficulties. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to be trapped under IS rule in the warren of densely populated, narrow streets which restrict the use of large armoured vehicles. Federal police commander Lieutenant General Raed Shakir Jawdat said yesterday that Iraqi forces backed by artillery and drones had advanced in the district. “Federal police and Rapid Response units imposed their complete control over the Al-Basha Mosque…and the Bab al-Saray market in the Old City,” he said. The two sites lie on the edge of the district in the heart of Mosul, next to the Tigris river that slices the city in two.
Further west, forces from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service have pushed into the Al-Rissala and Nablus quarters, senior commander Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi said. “The situation is good,” he said. The fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, would be a major setback for IS following months of losses in Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Mosul has huge symbolic significance for the group: it was from the Old City’s Al-Nouri mosque that its secretive chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of his “caliphate” in July 2014. Iraqi forces backed by an international US-led coalition launched a vast, long-awaited operation in October to oust the militants from Mosul, completing their recapture of the east in January.

Thousands more Iraqis flee Mosul battles with livestock

Nearly 130,000 out of 1.5 million Iraqis have been displaced from Mosul and its surrounding areas owing to the fighting, the spokesman added at a news briefing. Approximately 50,000 children have been affected by the conflict. The UN refugee agency described the humanitarian situation as “dire” with food stockpiles dwindling and the price of staples spiralling, boreholes drying up or turning brackish from over-use and camps and emergency sites to the south and east reaching maximum capacity. In a report published last week, the agency said as many as one million people are estimated to be out of reach of humanitarian assistance.

What’s left of Mosul’s University

General view of the library of the University of Mosul, burned and destroyed during the battle with Islamic State militants. The University of Mosul is a public university located in Mosul. It is one of the largest educational and research centers in the Middle East, and the second largest in Iraq, behind the University of Baghdad. The University of Mosul was closed  in 2014 but reopened just after a few months with new buildings and courses. Over 8,000 books and 100,000 manuscripts in its library were believed to have been destroyed. The university was considered to have been used as a base by ISIS and was hit by Combined Joint Task Force airstrikes in March 2016. Iraqi forces recaptured it in January 2017.

Thousands of displaced Iraqis face winter in camps

Since the start of the Iraqi military operation to retake Mosul in October last year, more than 144,500 people have been displaced and a majority of them are in desperate need of live-saving humanitarian assistance, the United Nations migration agency has warned. “Humanitarian aid is essential for the survival of the thousands of families displaced by Mosul operations who have left everything behind to save their own lives,” said Thomas Lothar Weiss, the Chief of the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) operations in Iraq. “Assistance must provide for a range of needs – including shelter, household items, health and livelihoods,” he added, underlining the need for additional funding to sustain relief efforts and to prepare for further displacement from the ongoing crisis.

The street-to-street battles for Mosul

More than 2,000 Iraqis a day are fleeing Mosul, several hundred more each day than before Iraqi forces began a new phase of their battle to retake the city from ISIS, the United Nations said.