Mosul is the largest city in northern Iraq, 390km north of Baghdad, which dominates the northern oil industry and has the largest dam in Iraq. Iraqi Kurds consider it a Kurdish city, but this makes Turkey uncomfortable, as part of overall Turkish concerns both of insurgency from Turkish Kurds, and regarding the status of Turkomen in Mosul. It has more Iraqi Christians of any Iraqi city, including Nestorians, Jacobites, Catholics and Chaldeans. It is fairly close to both the Turkish and Syrian borders.Before the 2003 Iraq War, Sarah D. Shields, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, wrote about continuing aspects of regional politics,
Much of the province is included in what the British and U.S. have called the "northern no fly zone". That region is now the second front....The Turkish government hasn't really given up their claims to the Mosul region, and the Turks are very worried that the Kurds will attain some sort of autonomy in Iraq. Their fear is that would re-ignite the demands of the Kurds within Turkey for their own autonomy, a situation comparable to the Basques seeking independence from Spain...[US-Kurdish cooperation]... makes the Turks nervous...Kurds promise that they will not tolerate a Turkish invasion. Turks promise they will not tolerate Kurds taking over northern Iraq."
Mosul has a long history in Assyrian culture, and a role as the bridge between linking Persia and the Mediterranean. "In the 8th century, Mosul became the principal city of northern Mesopotamia under the early Muslim Abbasid dynasty. In the Ottoman period it was one of the provincial seats of administration.
The largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Mosul is predominantly Kurdish with a sizeable Turkomen minority. The Yazidi sect is most numerous in the surrounding mountainous area.
- See also: Iraq War, major combat phase#Mosul
It was the headquarters of the Iraqi V Corps, which surrendered without fighting.
- Mosul, Globalsecurity
- David Williamson (April 4, 2003), "Questions about northern Iraq may be troublesome after war", University of North Carolina News Services (no. 214)