Photo: @diego.ibarra.sanchez for AJE ••• Kurdish fighter looks outside a destroyed classroom in the recently liberated area of Setyh in northern Iraq. The school was destroyed by an air strike
The battle for Mosul, which has been under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since June 2014, is key to the group’s ultimate defeat.
Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and their international allies have already cleared dozens of villages on the outskirts of Mosul. However, the fight against ISIL, also known as ISIS, has been complicated by territorial arguments between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, with the Kurds angling to assert control over certain disputed areas liberated from ISIL.
From the Bashiqa frontline, just 20km from Mosul, a mountain top offers a clear view of the city, from where hundreds of thousands of residents are expected to flee as the battle unfolds.
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