The Big Picture

The Battle of Mosul

Iraqi government declared the city of Mosul liberated on July 9th, after a nine-month offensive to retake the city. Since October, the forces in Mosul have faced the toughest fighting in the 3-year war against the Islamic State fighters in Iraq. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed and Amnesty International called the battle a ‘‘civilian catastrophe,’’ with more than 5,800 civilians killed in the western part of the city. The gruelling battle displaced nearly 900,000 from their homes. Sporadic fighting continues in the Old City, signaling the presence of militants still in the area.
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Iraqi families, who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadists of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering on an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Peshmerga convoy drives toward the frontline in Khazer, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Mosul, Iraq on Oct. 17, 2016. (Bram Janssen/ Associated Press)
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Iraqi army soldiers raise their weapons in celebration on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq on Oct, 20, 2016. The Iraqi forces prepared for nearly three years to rebuild their military to have enough troops and clear enough supply lines to launch an attack on Mosul. (Associated Press)
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An Iraqi special forces soldier looks at a part of Mosul controlled by Islamic State fighters in Iraq, Nov.15, 2016. (GORAN TOMASEVIC/Reuters)
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Iraqi security officers place a suspected Islamic State group member into the back of a waiting pickup truck, in east Mosul on Feb. 21. A secretive Iraqi intelligence unit is leading the hunt for IS sleeper cells in liberated Mosul. (John Beck/Associated Press)
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Residents carry the bodies of several people killed during fights between Iraq security forces and Islamic State on the western side of Mosul, Iraq on March 24. The levels of destruction are dramatically different between Mosul’s east and west. Many of the east’s residential neighborhoods suffered relatively little damage. In the west, however, entire city blocks are damaged or destroyed by months of airstrikes and artillery. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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Federal Police Rapid Response Forces fire a rocket towards Islamic State positions near the Old City, in Mosul, Iraq, March 20. (Felipe Dana/ Associated Press)
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A woman holds her daughters as gunshots are heard in a neighborhood recently liberated by Iraqi security forces in western Mosul, Iraq on March 14. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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An injured man is carried atop an Iraqi special forces armored vehicle during fighting against Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq on March 14. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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A boy rides his bike past destroyed cars and houses in a neighborhood recently liberated by Iraqi security forces, on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, March 19. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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Displaced children evacuate a neighborhood in West Mosul during the government-led offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, on March 16. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iraqi federal police inspect the inside of Mosul’s heavily damaged museum on March 8. Most of the artifacts inside the building appeared to be completely destroyed. The basement level that was the museum’s library had been burned. The floors were covered in the ashes of ancient manuscripts, in western Mosul, Iraq. (Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press)
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U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire artillery in support of Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants from their base east of Mosul on April 17. U.S.-led coalition support for Iraqi ground forces in Mosul repeatedly proved to be the critical factor in the Mosul fight. (Maya Alleruzzo/ Associated Press)
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A girl and her father cry as the family flees the al-Rifai neighborhood while Iraqi special forces battle Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq. The U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, warned on June 5, that the children in Mosul are bearing the brunt of the intensified fight between U.S.-backed government forces and IS in the city’s western half. (Maya Alleruzzo/ Associated Press)
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A bomb explodes behind the al-Nuri mosque complex, as seen through a hole in the wall of a house, as Iraqi Special Forces move toward Islamic State militant positions in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, June 29. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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A suspected Islamic State fighter sits in a basement as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, July 3. Islamic State militants managed to launch a counterattack that reversed days of Iraqi army territorial gains in just a matter of hours. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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Iraqi forensics team personnel inspect the bodies of victims at a site believed to be an apparent airstrike carried out by US forces three weeks ago at al-Shifa district, western Mosul, Iraq, July 5. (OMAR ALHAYALI/EPA)
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A member of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) flashes the victory sign from the window of a humvee during an advance in the old city of Mosul on July 5, as the Iraqi government forces continue their offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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A view of the damage in the old city of Mosul on July 7, as Iraqi government forces continue to fight Islamic State (IS) group jihadists to retake the last parts of the city. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Fleeing Iraqi civilians sit inside a house as they wait to be taken out of the Old City during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, July 8. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) advance in the Old City of Mosul on July 6, during the Iraqi government forces’ ongoing offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, July 4. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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An Iraqi woman, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, sits in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated, on July 8. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) members stand amid destroyed buildings in the old city of Mosul on July 7, during the Iraqi government forces’ offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Iraqi man comforts a relative, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, as they wait to be relocated in the city’s western industrial district, on July 8. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Iraqi forces sniper looks on as smoke billows, following an airstrike by US-led international coalition forces targeting Islamic State (IS) group, in the Old City of Mosul on July 8. Part of the battle has been declared accomplished, while other forces continue to fight Islamic State (IS) jihadists in the city. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iraq’s federal police members wave Iraq’s national flag as they celebrate in the Old City of Mosul on July 9 after the government’s announcement of the “liberation” of the embattled city. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iraqi federal policemen stand in a damaged building as Iraqi forces continue their fight against Islamic State militants in parts of the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, July 9. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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A general view of the destruction in Mosul’s Old City on July 9. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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A member of Iraq’s federal police kisses a girl as forces celebrate in the Old City of Mosul on July 9 after the government’s announcement of the “liberation” of the embattled city. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Members of the Iraqi federal police forces celebrate in the Old City of Mosul on July 10, after the government’s announcement of the victory against the Islamic State fighters. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said he was in “liberated” Mosul to congratulate “the heroic fighters and the Iraqi people on the achievement of the major victory”. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Iraqis celebrate the occasion of the liberation of Mosul in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, July 9. (ALI ABBAS/EPA)
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Members of the Iraqi forces in the Old City of Mosul on July 10, during the offensive to retake the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Iraqi woman, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, sits while being comforted by another in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated, on July 8. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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A general view of the destruction in Mosul’s Old City on July 9. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
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An Iraqi woman, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, reacts as she sits in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated, on July 8. (FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Airstrikes target Islamic State positions on the edge of the Old City a day after Iraq’s prime minister declared “total victory” in Mosul, Iraq, July 11. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)
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