Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper writes that Iraqi troops may be close to reclaiming the millennia-old city of Mosul, which ISIS seized in October 2014. There are still many concerns for the city’s 750,000 residents, who could be seriously injured or killed in the crossfire. There are also worries about the city’s remaining antiquities and historic buildings, many of which have been destroyed by ISIS. In February 2015, the terrorist group annihilated priceless objects from the Mosul Museum’s collection. Only days later, it destroyed monuments in the ancient city of Nineveh.
With logistical support from the American military, Iraqi forces started an offensive last October to rescue the city. Since February, they’ve been able to control Mosul to the east and north of the Tigris River, which includes the suburbs as well as Nineveh and the museum. ISIS, however, has continued to monopolize the city and the spaces to its west.
Should Iraq take back the city, heritage experts are at the ready to save mosques, churches, and other edifices, such as the “crooked minaret” of the Great Nur al-Din Mosque from the twelfth century, which is in need of immediate and scrupulous repair.