M O S U L 

Kurds are the biggest ethnic minority in Mosul, which is Iraq's third-largest city with a population of more than 600,000. About 40 percent of Iraq's proven crude oil reserves lie southeast of Mosul. The city fell into U.S. and Kurdish hands on April 11, 2003. As Iraqi soldiers fled, U.S.-backed Kurdish forces manned checkpoints leading into the town center.