November 8, 2016: Iraqi Kurdish forces launched an offensive Monday to capture the town of Bashiqa from Islamic State fighters.
Kurdish peshmerga forces had surrounded the town for weeks ahead of the assault.
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Peshmerga Lieutenant Colonel Safeen Rasoon told Reuters that an estimated “one hundred IS fighters are inside” Bashiqa.
Artillery bombardment and airstrikes on Sunday and early Monday preceded the offensive.
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The town is about 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul, which is the largest city in Iraq still controlled by the Islamic State group.
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Iraqi government troops, along with peshmerga forces, began an offensive to capture Mosul three weeks ago. Iraqi forces entered the outer limits of the city late last week, but fighting has slowed as battles began in more densely populated parts of Mosul. (VOA)
New Delhi, October 27: After the government sought DNA samples from the next of kin of the 39 Indians Missing in Mosul, Iraq three years ago, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is again visiting the country to seek an update.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveeh Kumar said on Friday that Singh’s visit “is to talk to people”.
“He has met a range of people in Iraq. And also to get an update on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq,” Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.
He said that on Thursday Singh was in Mosul city where the Indians went missing.
Last week, the families of the 39 Indians were asked to provide their DNA samples but no reason was provided, the kin said.
It was in June 2014 that the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, went missing in Mosul town when it was overrun by the Islamic State. Their families continue to hope the men are alive but also fear the worst.
Singh had visited Iraq in July too in this connection.(IANS)
Old Mosul has been completely shattered in the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants
About 900,000 people have been displaced by the battle for Mosul, and many neighborhoods have been completely destroyed by war
Areas around the village are slowly being re-populated, but many places are entirely without services like trash collection, electricity, and running water
Mosul, September 5, 2017 : “All you can hear at night is the sound of broken doors flapping in the wind,” says Abd Elaam, a 50-year-old furniture maker. “Even soldiers stay indoors after dark.”
Elaam is currently one of the very few civilians living in Old Mosul, an ancient neighborhood shattered by the battle to recapture the city from Islamic State militants. Like many families that survived IS rule, he says, his resources are completely exhausted by the war and he has nowhere else to go.
Other families trickle in by day, looking to repair their broken homes or recover the bodies of their dead loved ones. But even during daylight hours, the neighborhood is dangerous, riddled with bombs and an unknown number of militants hiding out in the vast network of tunnels under the tightly-packed buildings and piles of rubble. The level of destruction has been compared to World War II Dresden.
“A IS militant came out of one those houses two weeks ago,” Elaam says, gesturing towards another dusty, broken street. “He blew himself up near two families. They were all injured and the bomber was cut in half.”
The militant’s body, like other fallen IS fighters in Old Mosul, was shoved under the rubble to reduce the smell of rot in the 45 degree-plus weather. When Iraq declared victory over IS in early July, the bodies of dead militants lay scattered in buildings and on the streets of nearly every block. Authorities searched through giant piles of concrete, once homes, for the remains of civilian families. But, they said, the only government department responsible for the IS bodies was garbage collection.
Old Mosul is far from re-establishing city services like trash pickup. There is no running water, electricity or businesses open. Yet other families are following Elaam’s lead, and plan to return to their homes as soon as possible.
“In a few days I will move back and bring my family,” says Ghanem Younis, 72, resting on a beige plastic chair in a sliver of shade. “If they provide electricity and water, everyone would come back.”
Younger men and children squat around Ghanem, recalling the isolation of the final months of the battle that began late last year. “We couldn’t go more than 50 meters from our front doors,” says Sufian, a 27-year-old unemployed construction worker. “We spent our time sitting right here with Uncle Ghanem.”
But it is not sentiment driving some families home despite the dangers, adds Elaam, as more neighbors join the conversation.
“People cannot stay with friends and relatives forever,” he says. Camps for those displaced are also crowded. “No one has anywhere else to go,” he adds.
A few blocks away, outside the checkpoints that cut off the Old City, the Zanjelli neighborhood is slowly being repopulated.
Construction workers build a market to replace one destroyed in airstrikes, while the owners of what was once a shoe store paint the shelves, hoping to re-open in the coming weeks. The wreckage from a few of the destroyed homes has been cleared away, and the bodies of many of the dead are now buried in graveyards.
In less than five minutes of conversation, at least three people tell us about family members, including toddlers, killed in airstrikes in the last months of battle.
“There was an IS sniper firing from next to my house and the airstrike hit us,” says Youseff Hussain, 35. “Fifteen members of my family were killed.”
Rebuilding the neighborhood, adds Hussain, is made doubly frustrating by the fact that it was Iraq’s allies, including the United States, who destroyed many of their homes as they battled IS from the air.
Many locals say the sacrifice of property and lives may have been necessary to prevent the city, then under siege, from total starvation. But after bearing the brunt of the war with IS, largely considered a global threat, residents say they thought the international community or the government would help them rebuild.
The only aid families here get right now, Zanjelli residents say, is Iraqi military rations, as soldiers share their food.
“There is nothing they can do to pay us back for what we have lost,” says Hussain. “But shouldn’t we at least get refunded for our property?” (VOA)
The children of many local residents who fought with the Islamic state fighters in the battle of Mosul were rendered homeless
They work in Mosul to support their families and can’t afford to consider the idea of going to school
New Delhi, August 25, 2017: A war on ISIS or the battle of Mosul, that left thousands of children in Mosul orphaned and homeless, manifests its influence even now. It could be seen in the form of helpless children, of the people who fought with the Islamic state fighters to take the city back from ISIS, when the terror group swept in Mosul, and declared a “caliphate” in 2014.
A number of Mosul children were orphaned during the war, leaving them with the responsibility of taking care of their families. Many can’t even consider going to school, since they are too busy in helping their families.
“I sell tissue papers to cover my daily expenses. My father can’t work because he is sick. I want to go to school but I can’t,” said Unis Tahir, a child in Mosul, as mentioned in the VOA report.
However, many others do not wish to go to school because they are afraid ISIS would teach them fighting and send them for the same.
“I did not go to school because ISIS came and they would teach children about fighting and send them to fight,” says 12-year-old Falah by his vegetable cart in Mosul, mentions the NDTV report.