Mosul.. Tributes and closure measures cripple truck traffic and trade

Mosul.. Tributes and closure measures cripple truck traffic and trade

Shafaq News/ In a long line, driver Ahmed Aziz, waited for two days with his truck in front of a floating bridge on the Tigris River in Mosul; hoping to be allowed to complete his route and deliver the goods in his truck to its destination.

Ahmed and thousands of other drivers were stranded and stuck with their trucks in a long line inside and outside Mosul; after local authorities decided to close the main bridge for truck crossing in the city -and not allow them to cross the floating bridge as well.

The trucks lined up in front of the floating bridge in the forest area -on the left side of Mosul, all the way to the Kanisah area on the right side of the city.

An anonymous security source in the local police, revealed to Shafaq News agency the decision after prevent trucks from crossing the second bridge in Mosul -known as the "Al-Hurriya Bridge"; after it was the only one allowing trucks to cross from one side of the city to the other, as well as trucks coming from outside Nineveh towards the central and southern governorates, "The report came to the 14th regiment of the local police -as it is under its responsibility”.

The drivers headed to the Al-Jamhuriya Bridge -after the Al-Hurriya Bridge was closed, in an attempt to cross; only to find it out of service.

More than 24 hours after the bridge was closed, thousands of trucks entered Mosul -mostly from Kurdistan towards the southern and central governorates, but remained stuck inside the city.

The truck line was about three kilometers (six miles) long.

There was no explanation from the concerned authorities as to why the Al-Hurriya Bridge was closed. Although the bridge was rehabilitated and opened only a few months ago.

All bridges between the two sides of Mosul were destroyed during the war to liberate the city from ISIS -during 10 months of fierce fighting in 2017.

Nearly four years after the city was liberated, only two bridges have been repaired.. The third bridge is still out of service, while the fourth and fifth are open to small wheels only -after a temporary iron cut was erected to ease the traffic jam for the city's population and the governorate in general.

The Tigris River crosses the center of Mosul and divides it into two parts -west (left coast) and east (right coast). Five bridges were used to connect the two sides before the war against ISIS.

Mosul is a strategic route for commercial truck convoys from Kurdistan and Ibrahim Al-Khalil border crossing (between Turkey and Iraq) to Baghdad and southern provinces.

“Crossing Mosul is a nightmare for truck drivers; it takes two days to cross one bridge in Mosul. To avoid waiting -or having to unload part of the truck's load, drivers or traders bribe security services in front of the entrances to bridges.. Some truck drivers are forced to pay money to the security forces near The Al-Hurriya Bridge to not wait in line or cross with large loads”, said Ahmed Aziz.

"Those who don't pay have to drop off a quantity of the cargo and transport it with smaller trucks and then load it again after crossing to complete the road. These are huge expenses and sometimes problems occur between the driver and the trader, but the one who is obliged to pay pays after all. Sometimes the merchant has to pay between 250 to 300 dollars for each of his trucks to facilitate the task of transporting the goods quickly without delay”, added Ahmed.

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