Mosul is a city of over a million people in northern Iraq, some 250 miles north of Baghdad. It is currently the largest city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant ("ISIL"). The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial areas on both banks.
The city's population grew rapidly around the turn of the millennium and by 2008 was estimated to be 1,800,000. Although half a million fled in 2014, it was still over a million at the end of that year. With the 2014 ISIL occupation, primarily Sunni Muslims remained in the city.
The fabric muslin, long manufactured here, is named after this city. Another historically important product of the area is Mosul marble. People from Mosul are called Maslawis. The city of Mosul was home to the University of Mosul, which was one of the largest educational and research centers in Iraq and the Middle East. Until 2014 the city was a historic center for the Nestorian Christianity of the Assyrians, containing the tombs of several Old Testament prophets such as Jonah.
In June 2014, ISIL took over the city during the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive.