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Baghdad's Green Zone reopens to new generations of Iraqis

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:30s

Baghdad's Green Zone reopens to new generations of Iraqis

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the fortified area located in the Karkh district in central Baghdad has been largely off limits to ordinary Iraqis due to security concerns but over the years restrictions have loosened.

Emily Wither reports.

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Baghdad's Green Zone reopens to new generations of Iraqis

Amar Abdul-ridha can now drive his taxi through Baghdad's Green Zone.

A journey that once took him a couple of hours is now just five to ten minutes long.

He's now allowed unlimited access to the area after officials fully opened it to the public last month.

It's his first time driving through here in 16 years.

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the fortified area in central Baghdad has been largely off limits to ordinary people due to security concerns.

It once served as the headquarters for U.S. troops as well as for successive Iraqi regimes.

But over the years restrictions have loosened and a new generation of Iraqis are getting a glimpse inside.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, LIEUTENANT GENERAL MOHAMMED AL-BAYATI, SAYING: "The opening of the Green Zone is a message of reassurance and love.

There are so many landmarks inside the Green Zone which the Iraqi resident has been deprived of seeing.

And at the same time, it is a message to the Iraqi citizen that the security has begun improving and (it means) moving from a painful past to a prosperous future.'' The zone is home to Iraqi government buildings, the American embassy, and other foreign embassies and diplomatic missions.

But that's not all.

A theatre has now opened to the public.

Breathing new life in to a part of the city associated with conflict.

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