On October 18, FRONTLINE Presents the Broadcast Premiere of “Mosul” — The Harrowing, Vivid Story of Four Soldiers’ Fight Against ISIS

October 11, 2017
by Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist


Premiering on PBS and online:
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT | Twitter: @frontlinepbs #frontlinePBS
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On October 18, the PBS documentary series FRONTLINE will present the national broadcast premiere of Mosul – an extraordinary, inside look at the brutal battle to drive ISIS out of Iraq’s second largest city, which some military commanders have described as the deadliest urban combat since World War II.

The people of Mosul endured the repressive rule of ISIS for more than two years. This is the story of the men who fought back – and defeated the Islamic State in their heartland. Filmed on the ground by director Olivier Sarbil over the course of the entire nine-month fight, Mosul is a stunning look at the high cost of the Iraqi Army’s victory over ISIS in the city — large parts of which have been destroyed, with hundreds of thousands of civilians still displaced.

A qualifier for this year’s Documentary Short Subject Academy Awards following its theatrical release in Los Angeles this past summer, this vivid documentary follows the experiences of four young soldiers in a team of Iraqi Special Forces tasked with leading the fight to drive ISIS out of Mosul as the terror group held civilians captive there:

  • Anmar, a college graduate seeking revenge after his father was victim of a suicide attack. “As an officer, I am responsible for my soldiers,” he says. “Every soldier has a mother, a father, a wife, children. All these lives are my responsibility.”
  • Hussein, a deadly sniper and aspiring soccer player. “For the ISIS guys I kill, I feel very happy I killed them,” he says. “It’s fun. It’s not like a war, but a wedding party.”
  • Jamal, a wise-cracking sergeant who has closely bonded with his team. “We’ve been friends from the start,” he says. “In the battlefield, you’re together all day, every day. We do everything together. We sleep, we eat together.”
  • Amjad, a young recruit whose wife is pregnant. “We will recapture Mosul and drive ISIS out of Iraq,” he says. “Peace and security will return to our beloved country.”

Visceral footage of the fighting is interwoven with intimate and searching interviews with the young soldiers. Full of hope at the beginning of the campaign, the reality of fighting an elusive and vicious enemy in a city full of trapped civilians ultimately takes its toll: By the end of filming, one of the four soldiers is dead.

And for the surviving soldiers, haunted by what they have seen and done, the war goes on: “When everyone is sleeping and I’m awake, I break down and cry,” Jamal says. “People are like leaves on a tree. When they dry out, they fall to the ground. Everyone has their destiny. We all have our day.”

Before the Iraqi government declared that it had liberated the city in July of 2017, Mosul was an ISIS stronghold: the city from which its leader pronounced the establishment of the Islamic State, the city from which its commanders called for terrorist attacks on the United States, the city from which militants were sent to kill civilians in European cities. The war against ISIS in Iraq is a war with international significance – and Mosul is an unprecedented and intimate portrait of the men fighting it. 

Mosul premieres Wednesday, October 18 at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and online at

Mosul is a FRONTLINE Production with Mongoose Pictures in association with Channel 4. The producers are James Jones and Dan Edge. The writers are James Jones and Dan Edge. The director is Olivier Sarbil. The co-director is James Jones. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.

FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 89 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards. Visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Park Foundation, The John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.


Press Contacts | Anne Husted,, 617.300.5312
Patrice Taddonio,, 617.300.5375

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