The road to Mosul
The Iraqi army drove ISIS out of Qayyarah on Aug. 25, ending a fanatical and increasingly paranoid rule. For the past 2½ years, Qayyarah’s 40,000 odd residents stayed inside for all but essential business, Mohamad Diab says. He recounts food shortages, gruelling taxation and brutal punishments for minor infractions. Whippings for those caught smoking, executions for those found with a SIM card, which might be used to inform against Islamic State fighters. “Being liberated, it’s like being resurrected from the dead,” he says.
Qayyarah is the largest and most recent town to be retaken in the Iraqi army’scampaign toward Mosul: the capital of ISIS in Iraq. Iraq’s second largest city and Nineveh’s provincial capital,Mosul lies 80 km to the north". If the city is retaken, ISIS will be all but defeated militarily in Iraq. Already ISIS has lost most of the territory it once controlled in Anbar and Saladin provinces.
Seventy kilometres north of Qayyarah, the peshmerga's closest outposts to Mosul are just 15 km from the city. But until 2003, the Peshmerga occupied all the land between here and the Tigris.