VICE News spent a month reporting from the volatile city of Mosul, where the Iraqi people fight to keep the Islamic State at bay.
Jeremy Cassar

23 Jan 2017 - 3:23 PM  UPDATED 2 Feb 2017 - 10:07 AM

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, has since 2014 remained in a tense tug-of-war between Kurdish forces/the coalition and ISIL/ISIS.

Taking place before 18th of January 2017, when Kurdish Peshmerga forces fully recaptured and liberated East Mosul, Road To Mosul documents this reckless grind of a war without a foreseeable end.

Here’s all you need to know about VICE’s month-long stay with those Iraqi people who refuse to surrender their freedoms.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been battling ISIS every day since June 2014.

It took two years for the Kurdish-Coalition campaign against ISIS to take back half of Mosul — as under-resourced Iraqi soldiers sat ten-day shifts on the frontlines.

They battle ISIS from forts anything from 20-100 meters away

If you think modern warfare allows for battles to take place without each side having to get close to one another, think again. VICE correspondent Aris Roussinos reports from a bunker not 50-100 meters from the ISIS dug-in, and even more risqué forts sit a mere 20 meters from open fire.

There’s little doubt that these dedicated citizens aren’t so concerned with a thing like sleep.

Where any visible movement attracts ISIS sniper fire

At the time of the documentary, nine Pashmerga lost their lives to ISIS gunfire, which is unsurprising considering any movement on the frontlines attracts the business end of a sniper rifle.

Their painstaking days are fueled by a refusal to put up with ISIS’ rhetoric.

So tired are Iraqi soldiers —most of them practicing Muslims— of ISIS causing mass carnage and destruction in the name of religion that they’ve run out of good faith. They are a people who endure and claim to defend their land and people without fear, as fearlessness is the only state of mind fit for their world in 2017.

Oh, let’s not forget the coalition’s airstrikes on ISIS strongholds

The above heroics are somewhat muted by Western powers bombing the red hell out of ISIS targets so that Kurdish ground forces were able to approach without fear of fire.

In fact, it could be said that without these air strikes, which flicked away ISIS gains with relative ease, Kurdish forces might not have ever progressed past the static, precarious and seemingly never-ending war of attrition.

Before the airstrikes, ISIS intervention resulted in the mass murder of men and selling of young women into sex slavery

Countering evil with evil and expecting peaceful gains rarely ends well, and this story doesn’t end when the credits roll. No matter the brutality-made-economic of Western intervention, swarms of ISIS soldiers wait to take the place of their fellow fallen fighters.

How can causing the death of jihadists crush their resolve if they’ve been indoctrinated into telling death to ‘bring it on’?

Stream Road to Mosul now on SBS On Demand:

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