The Living and the Dead
July 20, 2017 11:03 AM   Subscribe

In a film, on the news, you watch a war. While in a war, you mostly hear it. In October, Iraqi forces set out to retake Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities and ISIS’s biggest stronghold in the country. It would take them nine months and cost thousands of lives.

Weapons are fired day and night, but only sometimes do you see them fired. As much as images, then, each battle takes on its own sounds.

The battle of Mosul began officially on Oct. 17, 2016. Sonically, it didn’t come into its own until some weeks later. In the opening skirmishes, as Iraqi troops encountered Islamic State fighters on farmland and in villages outside the city, rounds whistled unobstructed through the air and thudded in the sod, a vague overture. When the troops breached the easternmost districts of the city proper — in early November — then you could begin to really listen to the conflict.
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