- Title: Kurdish traders gearing up to take over Mosul trade from Syrians
- Date: 1st December 2016
- Summary: KALAK, ERBIL, IRAQ (NOVEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) SHOPS IN KALAK IN ERBIL GROCERIES IN THE STREET OF KALAK TWO SCHOOL BOYS WALKING NEAR SHOPS RETAILER SELLER ADJUSTING GOODS ON SHELVES AT HIS SHOP SHOP WORKERS PUTTING GOODS ON SHELVES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI KURDISH FOOD RETAILER NURI BARZAN, SAYING: "Sales have gone up by 50 percent since the operation started as traders stock up for Mosul." VARIOUS OF SHOP WORKERS ARRANGING GOODS ON SHELVES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI KURDISH FOOD RETAILER, NURI BARZAN SAYING: "Demands are high on dairy products, meat including chickens and other basic staples like rice, sugar, lentils, cooking oil and other things." TEENAGE BOY AT SHOP BUYING ITEMS MAN WITH TWO CHILDREN SHOPPING AT SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI KURDISH FOOD RETAILER, NURI BARZAN SAYING: "Before the offensive (to retake Mosul) and the liberation of some of the areas, I was thinking about shutting down the shop as the business was very bad." RETAILER SELLER CARRYING GOODS INTO SHOP VARIETY OF GOODS DISPLAYED ON PAVEMENT OUTSIDE SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FOOD RETAILER, SAAD ABDUL HAMEED SAYING: "I was thinking about shutting down the shop as the business was unprofitable, but with the progress made by the troops, business is picking up as traders come to buy goods to sell at (displaced) camps. Most of the people of the area buy goods from here and go to camps to sell them." PEOPLE WALKING PAST SHOPS STREET VENDORS/SHOPS PEOPLE AT MARKET STALL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MEMBER OF IRAQ'S COUNTER-TERRORISM SERVICE (CTS), MAHMOUD HAKIM SAYING: "We shop here. We come here to buy clothes. We need clothes. It's much cooler here than in Baghdad. We come twice a week to buy things and go back." MAN LOOKING AT JACKETS HEAP OF USED JACKETS
- Embargoed: 16th December 2016 15:01
- Keywords: business trade Iraq Mosul Kurdish
- Location: KALAK, ERBIL, IRAQ
- City: KALAK, ERBIL, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA0015B1YCEF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraqi Kurdish food retailer Nuri Barzan was considering closing his warehouse because of the lack of business when the launch of a military campaign to oust Islamic State from their stronghold of Mosul eased his worries.
However, with Iraqi forces having recaptured parts of Mosul since October, traders in Kurdish towns have been quick to start supplying shops that are opening again in retaken districts.
"Sales have gone up by 50 percent since the operation started as traders stock up for Mosul," Barzan said, sitting in his warehouse in Kalak, a town just east of Mosul.
His stocks include rice, cooking oil, soap and cornflakes - goods in high demand in Mosul districts resuming life after two-and-half-years of occupation under Islamic State.
It is a welcome development. Unemployment has been on the rise in Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq, for two years as oil prices have slumped and the Baghdad government has cut off funding after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) started building a crude pipeline to Turkey.
Abandoned construction sites, shuttered shops and traders sitting idle in their offices had become a frequent sight in Kalak, the rest of Kurdistan and the regional capital Erbil.
Mosul, an Arab city, used to get supplied mainly by traders from the western neighbour Syria shipping Turkish, Iranian and Syrian goods. The militants boosted that route by linking Mosul with its Syrian stronghold Raqqa, while roads to the Kurdish and Iraqi government-held territory had been largely cut off.
In recent days prices have gone up though as civilians are fleeing parts retaken by army due to suicide bombings and rockets blamed on Islamic State.
Soldiers - part of a 100,000 strong force sent to the north - were flocking to the busy Khabat market.
"We come here to buy cloths," said Mahmoud Hakim, a soldier sent from Baghdad, while checking out winter coats. "Its much cooler here than in Baghdad."
The Kurdish economy has also been given a boost by an influx of tens of thousands of soldiers and policemen taking part in the Mosul campaign, and aid workers helping the almost 80,000 civilians who have fled the battle.
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