BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 A.M.) – The battle-scarred city of Mosul lies in ruins seven months after its liberation by US-led coalition and Iraqi forces from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL). People were seen digging corpses out from beneath the rubble in the Al-Makkawi area of old Mosul, including what appeared to be the body of a child.
“The smell was unbearable from the large number of bodies scattered in the streets and houses. The bodies were of dozens of children and women,” said the Ruptly producer who filmed in the area.
“It looked as if the majority of the bodies are civilians. There were women, children, old people,” he added.
After being dug out, the corpses are handed over to a forensics department in Mosul. The state of the bodies is said to make it difficult to confirm their identities.
Laith Ibrahim, a Mosul Municipality Department Associate, explained that he had removed approximately 500 bodies from the area. He added that there are “more in the houses and roads” around.
Once-iconic landmarks in Iraq’s once-bustling second city have been left unrecognisable, the building facades have been turned to dust and car wreckage is left unattended amongst the sea of debris.
Residents commented on the difficulties of living in Mosul in its current state, particularly when many corpses remain unburied. Nashwan Khairi, a local resident, said: “yes, they are distributing aid and food to us like rice and bread. But what’s the point if we eat and the area is filled with bodies scattered everywhere, is it not better to send vehicles to clean the whole area? Or are they just skilled at making promises on TV?”
On July 2017, Iraqi forces declared the successful and full recapture of Mosul from IS, following an offensive fronted by the government forces and backed by US-led coalition forces, which began in October 2016.