Bridge connecting Erbil, Mosul, and Kirkuk reopens after being damaged in fight against ISIS
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A bridge in the Iraqi city of Gwer reopened on Thursday, out of commission since it sustained structural damage during fierce fighting against Islamic State militants who had taken control of the area after their 2014 rise in much of the country.
“Three years after it was damaged, today the bridge that is one of the largest in Iraq, is officially opened after its reconstruction,” Masoud Noory, Director of Gwer subdistrict, told the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) news website.
He added, “The bridge will be protected by Peshmerga forces, and today it was opened in coordination and cooperation with Unit 6 of Peshmerga in Gwer. The public can now use it.”
Noory also mentioned that the bridge has a strategic significance as it ties together the three major cities of Erbil, Mosul, and Kirkuk.
The media office of Nineveh governor Najim al-Jubouri also announced the reopening of the bridge, mentioning its economic significance as a result of it facilitating trade and transportation between the Kurdistan Region and Mosul.
Peshmerga forces secured the bridge on Aug. 2016, years after Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, was quick to fall into the hands of the Islamic State. Soon thereafter, the extremist group fanned out over surrounding areas like Gwer.
Economic deterioration, mistreatment of locals by Iraqi security forces, and neglect from the central government are all often cited as important factors contributing to the ability of the Islamic State to gain control of such areas so rapidly.
Editing by John J. Catherine