Over 8 months after the Iraqi forces have recaptured Mosul International Airport in Nineveh Governorate from ISIS terrorists, the airport is still in a very bad condition for being completely destroyed by the terrorist group.
The reconstruction of the airport requires millions of dollars to open its doors again to passengers amidst financial hardships facing Iraq.
When ISIS terrorists controlled Mosul in 2014, they destroyed the airport’s runways, with wide trenches carved into them and rubble placed along their lengths for fear of airdrops.
Moreover, the airport’s watchtower, terminals, taxiways and aprons have also been sabotaged by the group’s terrorists.
ISIS sabotaging airport
On the first day of the operation to retake Mosul, the Iraqi forces’ first destination was the airport and al-Tayaran neighborhood as they are both considered the city’s gateway.
According to Mosul residents, the first days following Mosul’s fall, ISIS terrorists have sabotaged everything in the airport.
ISIS has begun destroying Mosul’s airport before the eyes of the city’s residents, but everybody stood idly out of fear, Abu Ali, a 45-year-old resident of al-Tayaran neighborhood, said.
He added that the airport used to be Mosul’s vein of life and Iraq’s civilizational interface.
Financial crisis hampers rebuilding
The airport needs $50 m and two years to be reconstructed to accommodate up to 4 million passengers from Nineveh Governorate, Haider Mohamed, chairman of Mosul’s airport, said.
He also noted that to bring life again to Mosul, the airport has to be rebuilt.
However, he pointed out that United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Iraq said that the reconstruction of the airport is estimated to cost a lot of money.
In addition to this, Nawfal al-Akoub, governor of Nineveh, said that the airport is an important part of Mosul, adding that the governorate is attempting by all means possible to reconstruct it.
Yet, he noted that Iraq is facing a severe financial crisis and this has to be taken into consideration.
Readiness to facilitate security measures
Moreover, Najm al-Jabouri, commander of Nineveh operations, said he is ready to cooperate with companies and countries planning to rebuild Mosul’s airport.
We are ready to facilitate all the security measures and provide the bodies responsible for rebuilding it with the necessary services, he added.
Currently, Mosul passengers head to Baghdad or Erbil airports to travel abroad.
According to Maysaa Obeid, a Mosul employee, after Mosul liberation, travelling abroad has become painstakingly difficult.
She also said that traveling to Erbil to reach Erbil International Airport is difficult due to measures imposed on Mosul residents preventing them from entering Kurdistan Region without staying in it.
That is why rebuilding Mosul airport is needed as soon as possible to facilitate our travel, she concluded.
US-backed Iraqi security forces captured Mosul airport from ISIS on February 23 this year.
In July, the forces have fully liberated Mosul from ISIS clutches after a 9-month military operation.
Thousands were and nearly a million people were displaced by the fighting. A UN survey of the damage found 15 of west Mosul's residential neighborhoods have been completely destroyed.
The UN is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in stabilization funds to repair critical electricity, water and sewage networks, and reopen hospitals, schools and municipal buildings.
War on ISIS continues
One of the reasons behind the financial crisis facing Iraq is that its war on ISIS has not come to an end yet. Fighting the terrorist group has already drained its financial resources.
However, the Iraqi forces are currently preparing for retaking the remaining ISIS-held districts in the country.
According to observers, military operations, backed by US-led coalition and Tribal Mobilization, to recapture Hawija in Kirkuk Governorate, al-Shirqat neighborhood in Salahuddin Governorate and cities in western Anbar, will be launched concurrently on September 20.
However, media reports revealed that Hawija battle may begin before any other battle against ISIS as the Iraqi forces have stationed about 125 km from the city.
It was reported on Sunday that US forces are currently mobilizing at Nineveh and Kirkuk governorates' borders and preparing for Hawija operations.
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