Lawmakers warn of further destruction of Mosul as battle for western districts continue

By Rudaw 1 hour ago

An Iraqi volunteer walks amid the rubble of the destroyed buildings of Mosul's University in east of Mosul as he looks for documents that may have survived earlier this month. Photo: AFP/Christophe Simon

MOSUL, Iraq— Nearly 10,700 homes and buildings have fully or partly been destroyed in western half of Mosul following the intense clashes and bombing campaigns over the past months to drive out ISIS militants from their last holdouts in the city, according to the Iraqi members of parliament.

Lawmaker Izadin Dawla warned of the “future consequences” for the residents in Mosul, describing the war destruction as a “true catastrophe” which could become a “great threat” for life in the war-torn city.

“The city and its infrastructure have been virtually demolished including its offices, schools, hospitals, the roads and the bridges, the electricity wire networks and the communication systems,” Dawla, a Sunni MP, said Friday.

The operation to retake Mosul from ISIS, named ‘We Are Coming Nineveh,’ started in October last year with the Iraqi army gaining swift victories in eastern half of the city.

But the battle, as anticipated, has been slow in western, more densely populated areas of the city where the old town is located and where narrower roads and pathways have often halted the advancement of army convoys and troops.

Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army Osman Ghanimi has said that the operation to recapture the entire western Mosul will be completed within a month. According to Ghanimi around 35 percent of the western half of the city is still controlled by the militants.

The battle is especially intense in districts around the Grand Mosque of Mosul, also called the Nour Mosque, in the old town where the ISIS leader Abubakir Baghdadi declared his caliphate in 2014.

Parts of the destruction on the buildings and the infrastructure has been inflicted by the militants, according to lawmaker Naif Shammeri who is also a member of the parliament’s defence and security committee.

“The militants try to level a place with the ground before abandoning the area,” Shammeri said.

The number of refugees fleeing the war in Mosul surpassed half a million in April, according to the lawmaker Raad al-Dahlaki, chairman of the Iraqi parliament’s migration and displacement committee but the UN has warned the number could reach 1 million if the clashes continue.