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Canada In Iraq, the Mosul wholesale market is swarming again

16:00  05 december  2020
16:00  05 december  2020 Source:   20minutes.fr

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Mortar shells sparked a major fire in the Nabi Yunus market in east Mosul on Sunday, reportedly killing at least two people and injuring many others. The eastern part of Mosul has been liberated from so-called Islamic State. It is not yet clear who is behind the attack on the market .

Al-Dawasah Commercial Street in the city center on the right side of Mosul is getting active again despite the destruction of the houses and commercial

Vue du marché de gros Al-Borsa à Mossoul, dans le nord de l'Irak, le 28 novembre 2020 © Zaid AL-OBEIDI View of the Al-Borsa wholesale market in Mosul, in northern Iraq, November 28, 2020

Stalls, slaughterhouses or stalls , everything is swarming as before at the al-Borsa wholesale market in Mosul, a historic shopping hub in the Middle East. But the work in progress to restore 200 shops still on the ground remind us that the war has gone through this.

Since the liberation in July 2017 of this large city in northern Iraq, ravaged by three years of occupation by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) and months of urban fighting to dislodge it from the city, Abdallah Mahmoud has participated in relaunching the market.

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With the Iraqi government now controlling the eastern half of the city, two shops selling alcohol have opened in recent weeks. This alcohol shop in Mosul is back in business after a three year ban. While the buying and selling of alcohol is legal in Iraq , many people in this staunchly Sunni city frown on its

Today, 300 stalls raise their iron curtains every day and the bustle of the peak hours has resumed, between loading boxes and unloading trucks.

Before the city was captured by ISIS in 2014, al-Borsa's trade "reached $ 12 to $ 13 million" each month, Mosul-based economist Mohammed Naëf told AFP. "Today they are capping between eight and ten million dollars because many traders have fled and still have not returned."

Un commerçant irakien dans son stand au marché Al-Borsa, à Mossoul, dans le nord de l'Irak, le 28 novembre 2020 © Zaid AL-OBEIDI An Iraqi trader in his stand at the Al-Borsa market, in Mosul, in northern Iraq, November 28, 2020

But the trend is there: regularly, transactions increase and with them the number of jobs available in a country where unemployment officially affects one in five inhabitants.

"Al-Borsa opened in 1990. Over the years, the cluster of small stalls has grown into the most important wholesale market in Nineveh", now the third largest province in Iraq of which Mosul is the chief. place, says Abdallah Mahmoud, 27, in his store of sponges, cleaning products and other mops.

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Iraqi government forces have seized several villages as they move towards an assault on the last area held by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul . Government forces retook the eastern side of the city, the last major IS stronghold in Iraq , last month. But military officials say the western side, with its

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- Time and energy saved -

Thirty years later, "al-Borsa has almost regained its cruising speed, but the state still has to compensate the traders who lost everything in the war", urges Younès Abed, grocer of 50 ans came to buy something to fill the shelves of his stall in West Mosul.

In a country where industry has been almost destroyed since the American invasion which overthrew President Saddam Hussein in 2003 and where agriculture only accounts for 5% of GDP - but 20% of jobs -, However, local producers are struggling to survive.

Des Irakiens font des achats au marché de gros Al-Borsa de Mossoul, de le nord de l'Irak, le 28 novembre 2020 © Zaid AL-OBEIDI Iraqis shop at the Al-Borsa wholesale market in Mosul, northern Iraq, November 28, 2020

Ahmed al-Chemmari , a 42-year-old trader in al-Borsa, himself admits that he does not buy local: “90% of the products are imported, only 10% are made locally, such as cleaning products, cakes and other manufactured goods. "

Despite everything, al-Borsa brings a welcome breath to small producers suffocated by the worst economic crisis in Iraqi history, which is taking the plunge in oil prices, the sole source of foreign currency and almost the sole revenue of the State .

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Iraqis are celebrating the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State group militants after three years of occupation. But the retaking of Iraq 's second city comes at a very high cost: Many lives have been lost and trust has been broken between the Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish and Yazidi communities.

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Khalaf Oueid, 35, can thus sell all his fruits and vegetables on a single stall in al-Borsa. "It saves me a lot of time and a lot of energy. Before, I had to go and sell them in small markets in places outside Mosul," he told AFP.

"Now, I arrive early in the morning and it is the small sellers who buy my merchandise to stock their own stalls without me getting tired as before", welcomes the farmer.

- "Especially to watch" -

The reopening of al-Borsa also helped Walid Ghanem, a 32-year-old butcher: "Since the liberation, we had to slaughter our animals on the sidewalk and we did not know where to sell them, but today we have licensed public stalls and slaughterhouses again. "

However, beyond the revival of this market, Mosul, like all cities in Iraq, is paying the price for the economic crisis aggravated by containment to stem the global Covid-19 pandemic and the fall in oil prices .

Oum Saad, who supplies himself to al-Borsa to supply his small grocery store near the Old City, tempers the optimism of others.

"The economy is slowing down because of delays in the payment of salaries," she assures us, while the government now pays its eight million civil servants and retirees every month two or three weeks late.

"There are a lot of people in the alleys of al-Borsa, but mostly people watching, few actually buy because they cannot afford it."

str / sbh / tp / bfi

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