From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Now, it's the only one they have left - and not for much longer if the Iraqi army has its way.
The battle has begun to recapture Mosul.
Iraqi commanders say victory will mean the end of ISIL in Iraq.
Iraq's armed forces, along with Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shia allies, have been preparing for months.
They have the backing of the United States, which describes the operation as a 'defining moment.'
Will the joint force be able to kick ISIL out of Iraq altogether?
It was the largest city in Iraq captured by ISIL fighters.
And how many civilians are in the firing line?
Judit Neurink; Author of 'The War of ISIS: On the Road to the Caliphate'.
William Patey; Former British Ambassador to Iraq.
Hala Al Sarraf; Founder, Iraq Health Access Organization.