U.S. Army Capt. Gerrard Spinney (right) speaks to his Iraqi army counterpart from the Ninawa Operations Command prior to a security meeting at Camp Swift, Iraq, earlier this month. 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson/AP hide caption

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1st Lt. Daniel Johnson/AP

In this photo from Nov. 7, 2008, a U.S. Army chaplain leads soldiers on a tour of St. Elijah's Monastery on Forward Operating Base Marez on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq. The monastery was apparently destroyed by ISIS in 2014. Maya Alleruzzo/AP hide caption

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Maya Alleruzzo/AP

The Nirgul Tablet. Each digital replication becomes more complete and higher-resolution as the project collects more photos and videos of the artifacts. Project Mosul hide caption

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Project Mosul

Cyber Archaeologists Rebuild Destroyed Artifacts

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Then-U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill (right) tours the Mosul Museum of History in May 2009. This week the self-declared Islamic State posted a video online that showed militants going through the museum, pushing over statues and smashing artifacts with sledgehammers. Mujahed Mohammed/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Mujahed Mohammed/AFP/Getty Images

Training at a new camp near the front line, a mix of Arabs and Kurds prepare for an assault on Mosul in upcoming months. The men will wear balaclavas to conceal their identities while they fight, because they have family in Mosul and don't want to put their relatives at risk. Ari Shapiro/NPR hide caption

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Ari Shapiro/NPR

From A Mountain, Kurds Keep Watch On ISIS In Mosul

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Iraq is preparing to take back Mosul, a senior U.S. military official says. Earlier this month, government-backed Sunni Arab tribesmen who've been training to fight ISIS marched northeast of Mosul, in northern Iraq. Yaser Jawad/Xinhua /Landov hide caption

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Yaser Jawad/Xinhua /Landov

U.S.: Major Offensive Planned Against ISIS In Mosul This Spring

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Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed talks to the men he commands to protect the Mosul dam, a critical piece of infrastructure that supplies water and electricity. The dam is now close to the front line with the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

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Alice Fordham/NPR

Militants In Iraq Seek Control Of Precious Weapon: Dams, Waterways

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A volunteer at a Christian church in Qosh, Iraq, loads aid onto a handcart Monday for delivery to displaced Shiites who are sheltering there. Alice Fordham/NPR hide caption

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Alice Fordham/NPR

For Iraqis In Crisis, Dividing The Country Seems A Poor Solution

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Kirkuk province's Kurdish governor, Najim al-Din Omar Karim (center, wearing a bulletproof vest), listens to a commander of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces as troops are deployed on the main road between Kirkuk, Mosul and Baiji in response to the offensive by ISIS, an extremist Islamist group. Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images