Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Interview With Agence France-Presse’s Ahmad Mousa On The Battle For Mosul

Ahmad Mousa is an Iraqi video journalist working for Agence France-Presse. In the last few months he has been working in Ninewa covering the battle for Mosul. Here are a few of his thoughts on how the campaign has progressed and what it has meant for the city and people. Mousa can be followed on Twitter @AhmadMousaQ

Smoke from a car bomb going off in eastern Mosul (Ahmad Mousa)

1. Mosul has been shelled and hit by air strikes plus all the street fighting for months now. What does the city itself look like?

Unlike some previous battles against IS, such as in Ramadi, where infrastructure and houses were largely damaged and destroyed, Most of the buildings and infrastructure is still standing in Mosul, especially residents’ houses, as there are hundreds of thousands are still living in them. However, some buildings, infrastructure and houses were damaged or destroyed during, or before, the fight.

A man fleeing the fighting in eastern Mosul (Ahmad Mousa)

2. There is a huge movement of people within and to and from the city itself. What is life like for the city’s residents?

In neighborhoods where the fight takes place, some of the residents flee their homes because of IS mortar shells that area falling, snipers, strikes and car bombs, so the scene of a large number of people fleeing those areas could be seen every day. While others decide to stay and watch from their doors as the troops advance.

3. There are constant stories of shortages and the lack of services like power and water within Mosul. Are the government and aid agencies getting into the city to provide assistance?

There is a shortage of services like water and power in Mosul, some people are managing to get power from generators, for limited periods during the day, in the neighborhoods others don’t have. Government and aid agencies are getting to the areas that were liberated in the beginning to help provide aid and services.

4. How do you think the battle will progress?

For all the success made in the eastern side of Mosul, spearheaded by the Counter-Terrorism Service but the fight is still on and there’s another half of the city still under IS control, with narrow streets, in the western side, and intensively populated old areas where vehicles can’t pass, there are many scenarios could happen along the way, including exceeding the second timeframe for the battle given by the Prime Minister.

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