Mosul will be won, but at what cost?

Mosul's youth with strong limbs have fled; the aged, families and children have stayed back.

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Published: Tue 1 Nov 2016, 6:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 1 Nov 2016, 8:15 PM

The battle for Mosul, Iraq's second largest city won't be a cakewalk. Iraqi troops are closer to recapturing the city which could stamp out Daesh from the country. Liberation is the gates for the people. But at what cost? Fears of a humanitarian crisis are growing. What will be left of the city when all this violence ends? Dozens of lives have been lost since the combined assault began on the Daesh stronghold in October. Many residents are fleeing the city, dodging sniper bullets and grenades hurled at them. Others are being used as human shields by the terrorist group in the final phase of the battle. It is believed that 700,000 people could be affected when the city is finally taken. The Iraqi army is leading the charge with support from Kurdish troops and other militia backed by US airstrikes. The conflict will be bloody and brutal, the victory decisive for the US-led coalition that once looked the other way when killers targeted innocents. The victory will be symbolic at best, even pyrrhic, because the city will be in shambles, a generation lost to the vagaries of war and wages of a cowardly retreat by the Iraqi military.
Mosul's youth with strong limbs have fled; the aged, families and children have stayed back. If they survive this assault, they will have to endure more pain that will outlive their frail bodies. The city has been under Daesh control for two years now. The group's fighters, reported to be 3,000 strong, have mined the city; urban battles are breaking out. Iraqi and Kurdish forces numbering 40,000, will have to take street after street, house after house, building after building if they are not destroyed by withdrawing militants. Battles are won by armies, the spoils of war are not for ordinary residents, who have endured the agony and brutality that knew no bounds for two long years. According to estimates, 60,000 people were killed by the group. They were beheaded, crucified, mutilated and blasted out of existence. Others were buried or burnt alive. Liberation is at hand. But what's there to fight for in a city that has lost part of its soul?

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