The Struggle Of Civilians In Mosul

Mosul has plunged further into crisis as the conflict between Islamic State militants and Iraqi troops have led to water cuts. As a result of the unrelenting conflict occurring within the country, countless households have been reduced to rubble. The battle for Mosul began six weeks ago and shows no signs of stopping in the immediate future, with US-backed Iraqi troops being met with resistance throughout the country. A particular water pipeline, which ran through a contested part of the city, was hit during a skirmish between the two forces, resulting in 650,000 residents in Mosul no longer have access to clean water. Living standards have dropped substantially, and many of the poorer families struggle to feed themselves.

“We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe… basic services such as water, electricity, health and food are non-existent,” says Hussam al-Abar, a member of Mosul’s Nineveh Provincial Council. Current reports show Mosul being surrounded by an alliance of Iraqi forces, and its eastern districts being seized by elite troops. Aid workers expect a full siege to occur in the following weeks and fear that the extended period will prevent them from delegating resources to the injured and malnourished civilians. “Key informants are telling us that poor families are struggling to put sufficient food on their tables,” says U.N Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande in a Reuters article that was published earlier this week. Many civilians are suspected of hoarding and hiding food as they expect the food prices to rise substantially.

Numerous non-profit organizations have made an active effort to promote a peaceful alternative to the fighting. Many groups have targeted recently reclaimed areas of Mosul, placing themselves at risk to provide injured and displaced civilians with the bare necessities. One such example is World Vision and their fundraiser. With an ultimate goal of providing basic health and food assistance to over 70,000 civilians, World Vision, and its patrons have raised almost $600,000 of its $2.7 million fundraiser goal. Aid workers hope that their presence will encourage fighters to adopt a less violent approach to reclaiming Mosul.

The city of Mosul has been under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since mid-2014. In October of this year, a plan has been put into action, whereby the US-backed Iraqi military began to retake the city by force and provide civilians with resources, such as shelter, water, and food. Widely regarded as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and numerous individual countries, ISIL has been associated with the beheading of soldiers and civilians, as well as the destruction of cultural heritage sites.  As stated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, ISIL “seeks to subjugate civilians under its control and dominate every aspect of their lives through terror, indoctrination, and the provision of services to those who obey.”

Thousands of civilians continue to be displaced, injured, and killed as the Mosul crisis worsens. However, a tremendous effort has been made by various humanitarian organizations to provide aid and assistance to those in need. Many are hopeful that ISIL’s resistance will shatter, leading way to a rehabilitation period during which the civilians may rebuild and recuperate. The assistance of these organizations will lead to a brighter and more peaceful future for the citizens of Mosul.