Professors Clear Debris At Mosul University, Wrecked By Isis

Professors Clear Debris At Mosul University, Wrecked By Isis

 Professors were among the workers who turned up on Monday (April 10) to clear away rubble and prepare for a resumption of classes at the renowned University of Mosul, wrecked by the militants of the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Sunni Islamists looted the university after seizing Iraq's second largest city in 2014. They set faculties and a treasured library on fire during days of fighting with government forces who pushed them out of the campus in January this year.

The sprawling campus has been mostly deserted since then as soldiers painstakingly removed booby traps planted by the group. But on Monday professors, administrative staff and cleaners joined hands to sweep away debris and assess the damage.

In an administrative building, workers threw charred furniture out of a first-floor window. Some buildings remain off limits as the army has yet to clear all booby traps. Others were destroyed in an air strike in 2016 against a suspected ISIS chemical weapons laboratory.

Atta Allah Fahad Mikhlef, a biology professor was collecting glass flasks which had survived a fire set by the militants in a laboratory, and loading them into boxes to take to classrooms. He said that the staff had one objective, to rebuild what they could.

Officials have not given a date for the resumption of studies and there is still no power. But the scene is one of the signs of normality returning to eastern Mosul, along with the scenes of displaced people returning home and shops reopening.

That contrasts with life in western Mosul, a mere 700 meters away across the Tigris River, with sounds of artillery fire coming from the Old City, where ISIS fighters are still holed.