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(mō`səl, mōso͞ol`), Arab. al Mawsil, city (1987 pop. 664,221), provincial capital, N Iraq, on the Tigris River, opposite the ruins of NinevehNineveh
, ancient city, capital of the Assyrian Empire, on the Tigris River opposite the site of modern Mosul, Iraq. A shaft dug at Nineveh has yielded a pottery sequence that can be equated with the earliest cultural development in N Mesopotamia.
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. It is the largest city in N Iraq and the third largest city in the country. Trade in agricultural goods and exploitation of oil in the nearby oil fields are the two main occupations of the inhabitants. Mosul has an oil refinery; its productivity in the 1980s was hindered by the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
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. While most of the urban population is Arab, the surrounding region has a large Kurdish population. The city is the seat of Mosul Univ. and a center of Nestorian Christianity.

Mosul was the chief city of N Mesopotamia from the 8th to 13th cent., when it was devastated by the Mongols. The city remained poor and shabby through its occupation by the Persians (1508) and the Turks (1534–1918). Under the British occupation and mandate (1918–32) it regained its stature as the chief city of the region. Its possession by Iraq was disputed by Turkey (1923–25) but was confirmed by the League of Nations (1926). Many of Mosul's historic mosques and shrines as well as an ancient monastery nearby were destroyed by Islamic StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 militants after they captured the city in 2014. The Iraqi government began an offensive to retake Mosul in late 2016, winning control of the city by mid-2017. Thousands died and much of W Mosul, including the old city, was reduced to rubble in the fighting.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(al Mawsil), a city in northern Iraq, on the right bank of the Tigris River; administrative center of the Ninawa muhafaza. Population, 343,000 (1968). Railroad station and highway junction. Mosul has textile, food, leather goods and footwear, and metalworking industries. There is commerce in grain, fruit, and livestock. Nearby oil is extracted (Ayn Zalah), and there are cement and asphalt plants.

According to some sources, Mosul was a suburb of ancient Nineveh. In 641 the city was occupied by the Arabs and became part of the Arab Caliphate. Because it was located on the most important trade routes, Mosul became a major trade and handicraft center. Between the tenth and 12th centuries it was the capital of the various feudal states. In 1261, Mosul was taken and plundered by the Mongols. Almost continually from the early 16th century to 1918, the city belonged to the Ottoman Turks; in the 1860’s it was made the administrative center of the Mosul vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Mosul was occupied by British troops; in 1920 it became part of Iraq.

The medieval city, which was surrounded by a stone wall (12th century; destroyed in 1743), contains the Great Mosque of Nur-al-din (also known as Jami al-Kabir, 1170–72, reconstructed from the 12th to the 19th century) and its minaret (12th century), the al-Izziya Madrasa (12th century), the ruins of the Qara Saray Palace (13th century), the mausoleum of Yahya Abi’l Qasim (13th century), and the mausoleum of Aun al-Din (1247). Christian churches include those of Mar Ahudammah (tenth century) and Mar Shimun (13th century, reconstructed in 1936). Outside the city walls are 20th-century blocks with a regular layout (architects R. Squire and others). Near Mosul is the mausoleum mosque of Nabi Yunus (tenth century; dome, 14th century).


Mosul and Its Neighbouring District, 2nd ed. Baghdad, 1956.
Fiey, J. M. Mossoul chrétienne. Beirut, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in N Iraq, on the River Tigris opposite the ruins of Nineveh: an important commercial centre with nearby Ayn Zalah oilfield; university. Pop.: 1 236 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Alkhaled was once an undergraduate student of the university in his youth, and in an attempt to help with rebuilding the library, he made it his mission to set up a crowdfunding campaign late last year to cover the shipping of books which will be donated by the University of Manchester to the University of Mosul.
The paper added that Iraqi government forces confiscated important documents certifying Saudi intelligence officers' assistance to ISIL terrorists once they liberated Mosul from the clutches of them.
"From here, from the heart of the liberated and free Mosul, by the sacrifices of the Iraqis from all the provinces, we declare the great victory for all of Iraq and Iraqis," CNN quoted al-Abadi as saying.
The caliphate as he dreamt it - land they wanted to claim as Isis territory - now no longer physically exists as Mosul, though in ruins, is back in Iraqi government hands.
But ISIS has used drones to attack the civilian population there and have also launched mortar strikes against the eastern side of the city from across the Tigris river, which runs through the center of Mosul. 
It is clear that it will stay and fight until the bitter end, which means the battle for Mosul is going to be nasty, it's going to be dirty, and it's going to be difficult.
Further south, an officer said Interior Ministry security forces were advancing from the town of al-Shura, recaptured from Islamic State on Saturday, along the Tigris river valley towards Mosul, about 30 km (20 miles) to the north.
Their biggest prize was Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.
WARDAK/IRBIL Iraq: Kurdish peshmerga forces launched a fresh attack on Daesh (ISIS) forces early Sunday as part of a campaign to capture Mosul, the militants' de facto capital in Iraq, Kurdish officials said.
Mosul was an integral part of Assyria from as early as the 25th century BC, and after the Akkadian Empire and Neo-Sumerian Empire it again became a continuous part of Assyria proper from circa 2050 BC through to the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire between 612-599 BC.
However, whether the country will take part in the Mosul operation depends on Turkey's future talks with the [US-led] coalition forces.