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Mission 18 - Satellite Photo
al Qaeda: The Battle for Mosul

Mosul, or Al-mawsil in Arabic, is a city of 1.7 million people in the northwestern part of the country, close to the ruins of the ancient Assyrian metropolis of Nineveh. With an economy based on cereals, livestock, oil production and refining, and textiles, Mosul is the city for which the product muslin is named.

Dominated by Kurds, it has large minorities of Arab-speaking Christian Assyrians and a smaller group of Turkomans. Dating back to the 8th century, when it became the most vital city in Mesopotamia because of its key position as a stop on the caravan route between India and the Mediterranean, Mosul boasts many ancient buildings, like the Great Mosque, the Red Mosque, and the Mosque of Nabi Jarjis.

Destroyed in the 13th century by Mongol raiders, it was revived in 1534 as a commercial and political hub for the Ottoman Empire. On April 11, 2003, it was liberated from Saddam by US-led forces and their Iraqi Kurdish allies.


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