DISPATCH // 2 JAN 2017

We spent the day today laying groundwork for expansion of relief efforts on a new side of Mosul in an area that we haven't yet engaged. We encountered incredible needs and wide open doors to serve. Our base of operations in Bashiqa is proving to be an ideal spot to engage the rim of the city in a medical and relief capacity.

The military campaign is far from over. ISIS is severely diminished and weakened on the south east side of the city (the easy side), but this is most definitely still the beginning of the beginning of the campaign--or even the beginning of a failed end. The Iraqis have suffered incredibly high casualties and are going to have to overhaul the approach entirely. This pace is not sustainable and 'victory' is not in sight. 2017 is going to be a very difficult one for the Iraqi forces as they continue bogged down inside the outskirts of the city and incredibly burdensome to Kurdistan as they continue to absorb the full brunt of internally displaced people. 

All day I was pondering what Donald Trump is going to do in his first few weeks and months in office in regards to Iraq. I assume that he won't maintain the status quo established by the Obama administration. Time will tell whether that is a good thing or just a better thing. But I am sure that it will not be a worse thing.

On another note, the Kurds truly are a remarkable people. It's an honor to serve alongside them and watch how they care for friends, strangers and enemies alike with such grace. Observing how the Peshmerga operate on a daily basis has been a great privilege. Amazing people who have become family to us.

– Dalton Thomas, Founder & Director of FAI