Celebrations continue to erupt in Mosul after Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of the defeat of ISIS. But, with half of the city’s residents gone and over 10,000 buildings destroyed, the battle has not yet been won. Bodies of family members who did not escape the battlezone lie, deserted, amongst the rubble. On Friday, 48-year-old Sumaya Sarhan awaited the return of her brother, who was caught in an airstrike just 3 months prior. When rescue workers uncovered his remains, Sarhan cried; “He’s just bones. Just bones.”
Those who had left Mosul found refuge in Kurdish-controlled Eastern Iraq, where camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) have been erected. First aid stations have emerged in light of the mortar range that refugees must cross to return to these camps (depicted below). Photographer Emin Ozmen describes the arrival point of an IDP camp; “The sounds of combat were near and boats were arriving with many people on them. I boarded one of the boats to get to the other side, and when we got near the bank, people were shouting for us to take them. Most of them were women and children. Some had white flags in their hands. We took the women and babies first and crossed the river again.”
Gabriner, Alice, and Olivier Laurent. "Fleeing Mosul: Photographing the Flow of Iraqi Refugees." Time. Time Magazine, n.d. Web. 16 July 2017. <http://time.com/fleeing-mosul/>.
Loveluck, Louisa. "Victory in Mosul leaves survivors reeling: 'We got our city back, but there is nothing for me in it'." The Washington Post. WP Company, 11 July 2017. Web. 16 July 2017. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/victory-in-mosul-leaves-survivors-reeling-we-got-our-city-back-but-there-is-nothing-for-me-in-it/2017/07/11/878fe57c-656a-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html?utm_term=.16a5df1ebad5>.
Loveluck, Louisa. "After Islamic State defeat, a daunting search for bodies in Mosul's rubble." The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 July 2017. Web. 16 July 2017. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/after-islamic-state-defeat-families-return-to-mosul-to-collect-bodies-of-loved-ones/2017/07/15/6d8b131c-6944-11e7-83d7-7a628c56bde7_story.html?utm_term=.d1367cbad643>.