Iraqis and Kurds open rebuilt Erbil-Mosul bridge at Khazir
Photos by Zardasht Khan
KHAZIR, Kurdistan Region — Construction on the Khazir bridge that ISIS blew up in 2014 while retreating against advancing Kurdish Peshmerga fighters has been completed and is now open.
The bridge was opened on Wednesday with the presence of Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi and Mahdi Alaq, the chief of staff of Iraq's Council of Ministers, along with Iraqi and Kurdish military officers.
The cost of the 120-meter-long bridge was 1.8 billion Iraqi dinars (about 1.5 million USD). It is constructed of concrete and metal with two wide lanes and sidewalks on each side, and took five months to complete.
ISIS detonated the bridge in late-2014, as Peshmerga, Iraqis and local fighters supported by US air strikes turned the extremists away from the capital of the Kurdistan Region.
Since then, a light and narrow temporary bridge has been used to cross the Great Zab River some 30 kilometers west of Erbil and 35 kilometers east of Mosul.
“Daesh [ISIS] was only 25 kilometres from Erbil. The road to Erbil was open,” Peshmerga Major General Sirwan Barzani recalled in an interview in December 2016.
He explained that there was an Iraqi armored unit in the area, but they were reluctant to fight.
“I said I will push Daesh back, I just need 48 hours,” Barzani said. “So after two days we did it.”
More than 1,700 Peshmerga have sacrificed their lives since 2014 with another 10,000 suffering causalities.