Speed Reads


In Mosul, a divided Iraq in microcosm

The eastern half of Mosul, Iraq, was liberated from Islamic State occupation in late January, and civilian life there is tenuously returning to normal. After more than two years of ISIS control, schools and markets have reopened, children are playing in the street again, and the city infrastructure — relatively intact compared to some ISIS-ravaged areas — is undergoing repairs.

As BuzzFeed News reported Friday, car enthusiasts in eastern Mosul even organized a drifting event this month to "tell people there's a lot more happening in our country, more than just shooting and wars," as one organizer put it.

The still-occupied western side of the city is a different story. There, the Iraqi army's U.S.-supported campaign to oust ISIS fighters reportedly destroyed a major ISIS command center on Saturday. "ISIS did not use the building for any medical purposes [and] civilians were no longer accessing the site," said a coalition statement announcing the strike, which targeted a building in a hospital complex.

A counter-statement from ISIS said the strike killed 18 people, most of whom were women and children, and wounded nearly 50 more. Because independent media are not allowed in western Mosul, outside reporting has not been able to verify either statement.