DUHOK, Kurdistan Region— After nearly four years of closure, a strategic road that directly connects Mosul to Duhok called the “Mosul Dam Road” has been reopened for personal travel. In the coming days the road will open to commercial trucks, allowing more goods to flow more easily from the Kurdistan Region and into the other parts of Iraq
“Many meetings took place between Mosul and Duhok security and administrative bodies last week. Then under Abadi’s order, the Duhok-Mosul road was reopened on January 4. Now the road is open between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” Barakat Shamo, a member of Nineveh provincial council told Rudaw.
The final details over management of the road are to be agreed upon between Baghdad and Erbil, according to Shamo, a member of the committee that was established for reopening of the road.
“We have been discussing [it] with the KRG and Iraqi officials for a year, but initially [Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-] Abadi did not agree to open it.”
Nineveh province is a disputed or Kurdistani area claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.
“We have agreed on everything. There was only a scanning machine missing. We expect the arrival of a machine to scan semi-trucks at the KRG Asayish’s (security) main checkpoint in the coming two days. On the Mosul side, the Iraqi army has made all preparations. The road is [eventually] expected to be open for 24 hours [daily] and be open for businessmen.”
When ISIS took control of Mosul city and much of the province in June in 2014, the road was closed. Although ISIS was militarily defeated on the left side of Mosul city in February 2017, the road had been closed until January 4.
Because it runs near to the strategic Mosul Dam, it is locally known as the Mosul Dam Road. The road stretches about 73 kilometers between the two cities. It is considered as strategic link between Turkey and Iraq.
Shamo said that the road is being reopened to benefit businessmen following Abadi’s order.
The main Duhok-Shingal road was closed following the incursion of Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi army to Shingal on October 17. The Kurdish Peshmerga announced in December 2017 that they were ready to reopen the road. But it remains closed.
“Zummar and Rabia are under the control of Iraqi counter terrorism forces. They do not allow the opening of the road, but the Mosul dam road to Shingal is going to be close as well. People from there can get benefit from it as well,” said Shamo.
Mosul city is an important bazaar for Duhok businessmen. Prior to ISIS offensive, nearly a thousand firms from Duhok had offices in Mosul.
“Therefore businessmen from both sides have been waiting for the reopening of the road for a while,” said Ayad Hassan, head of the chamber of commerce for Duhok.
Kurdish officials have complained of the presence of Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces preventing cooperation with traditional Iraqi army forces in the disputed or Kurdistani areas like Duhok, Shingal, Kirkuk and elsewhere.
Kurdish officials have complained of the presence of Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary forces in the disputed or Kurdistani areas like Duhok, Shingal, Kirkuk and elsewhere, preferring cooperation with traditional Iraqi army forces.