Nineveh Governorate ( ar|محافظة نينوى, syr|ܗܘܦܪܟܝܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ|Hoparkiya d’Ninwe, ku|Parêzgeha Neynewa ,پارێزگای نەینەوا) is a governorate in northern Iraq that contains the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. It was an integral part of Assyria from the 25th century BC to the seventh century AD. It has an area of and an estimated population of 2,453,000 people in 2003. Its chief city and provincial capital is Mosul, which lies across the Tigris river from the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Tal Afar is the second-biggest city. Before 1976, it was called ''Mosul Province'' and included the present-day Dohuk Governorate, which is now part of the autonomous Kurdistan Region. An ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse region, it was partly conquered by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with Mosul and the surrounding area being captured in 2014. Iraqi government forces retook the city in 2017.

Recent history and administration

Its two cities endured the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and emerged unscathed. In 2004, however, Mosul and Tal Afar were the scenes of fierce battles between US-led troops and Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents moved to Nineveh after the Battle of Fallujah in 2004. After the invasion, the military of the province was led by (then Major General) David Petraeus of the 101st Airborne Division and later by (then Brigadier General) Carter Ham as the multi-national brigade for Iraq. During the time, the American civil head of the local office of the Coalition Provisional Authority was a US Foreign Service Officer and former Kurdish refugee to the States. Mustafa administered her nominees on the provincial council and through members of the Kashmoula family. In June 2004, Osama Kashmoula became the interim governor of the province and in September of the same year he was assassinated en route to Baghdad. He was succeeded as interim Governor by Duraid Kashmoula, who was elected governor in January 2005. Duraid Kashmoula resigned in 2009. In April 2009, Atheel al-Nujaifi, a hardline Arab nationalist and member of Al-Hadba, became governor. While al-Nujaifi's Arab Muttahidoon bloc lost its majority to the Kurdish Brotherhood and Coexistence Alliance List in the 2013 provincial election, al-Nujaifi was reelected as governor by a larger Sunni Arab coalition that was later formalized as the Nahda Bloc. In June 2014, insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as ISIS or ISIL) overran the capital Mosul, forcing an estimated 500,000 refugees to flee the area, including governor al-Nujaifi, who was subsequently deposed by the Iraqi Parliament. While the Kurdish list proposed Hassan al-Allaf, an Arab affiliated with the Islamic Party, the provincial council elected Nofal Hammadi (formerly Loyalty to Nineveh List) with the votes of the Nahdha bloc. An offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL control began in October 2016, with Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers supported by a U.S.-led coalition of 60 nations.

Provincial elections

Human geography


Neighboring Iraqi regions are Dohuk Governorate to the north, Erbil Governorate which are a part of the autonomous region of Kurdistan and Kirkuk Governorate to the east, Saladin Governorate to the south-east, and Al Anbar Governorate to the south. In the west it shares a border with Syria, mostly Al-Hasakah Governorate, and also Deir ez-Zor Governorate in the south.

Administrative districts

Nineveh Governorate comprises 30 districts, listed below with their areas and populations as estimated in 2003:


Nineveh Province is multiethnic. There are significant numbers of Arabs, Turkmens, Assyrians, Kurds as well as Yazidis both in towns and cities, and in their own specific villages and regions. There are also many Armenians, Kawliya, Mandeans and Shabaks. The majority are Sunni Muslim. 80% of the Arabs are Sunni Muslim, the Turkmens mostly are Sunni Muslim, and the Kurds are mostly Sunni Muslim. About 5–10% of the population is Christian. Generally, Yazidis, Shabaks and Mandeans are followers of their respective heritage religions, Yazidism, Shabakism, and Mandaeism. The primary spoken language is Arabic. Minority languages include Turkman, Neo-Aramaic dialects spoken by the Assyrian People, Kurdish (predominately Kurmanji), Shabaki, and Armenian.

Proposed Assyrian autonomous region

Many Assyrian leaders advocate an autonomous Assyrian homeland within Nineveh Province for the indigenous Assyrians. Most National Iraqi leaders have not taken this plan seriously.

See also

* 2005 Nineveh governorate election * Nineveh plains * Assyrian homeland * List of Yazidi settlements * List of churches and monasteries in Nineveh * Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL * Genocide of Christians by ISIL * Proposals for Assyrian autonomy in Iraq

Notes and references

Further reading

* {{Authority control Category:Governorates of Iraq Category:Assyrian geography Category:Upper Mesopotamia Category:Yazidis in Iraq