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Mosul in 360: Among the ruins, memories and ghosts of Iraq’s ancient city *ENGLISH*

Iraq, Mosul
August 16, 2018 at 15:31 GMT +00:00 · Published

Mosul’s once economic centre, the Old City, now bears a closer resemblance to a mass cemetery.A few metres from the al-Nuri mosque’s destroyed minaret, where the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi pronounced his first and last public sermon in July 2014, Mohammed Qadir, who is internally displaced, visits his former house.“If you want to know, this is the story of how my family and I lived under ISIS occupation. This is the house, the home we used to live in, and I lost a child, a daughter aged 17 years old,” he explained.Once inside the house, Qadir explains how his daughter Zubaida died inside the bathroom.“She was hit by a mortar shell that struck her legs. Her flesh was on the wall, which are the black spots, and the rest is shrapnel,” he said. “She was immediately thrown from this area and into the yard.”Qadir recounted how he watched his daughter die in the strike that destroyed his home.“Her uncle’s wife saw her from the window and began screaming, saying the child is dead. I approached her to find her chest covered in smoke and gunpowder from the explosion. We moved her to our neighbour’s house and gave her first aid, and we were pulling her by her leg, then her leg flew in this direction, inside our neighbour’s house, complete with her whole foot, flying into our neighbour’s house,” he says.He went on to describe how he was too distressed to take her to hospital, which was being run by the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS, ISIL), leaving it to his son and cousin.“He told them that his sister was injured and they said that they do not admit such cases to the hospital: you either take her to the house to die there or we give her a shot to end her life. We care mainly for the fighters, for these cases we do not; secondly, she, as they said, had been deformed. So they did not treat her till she died.”Qadir now lives in a one-room home with his wife and three children. He cannot return to the house where they were living before the operation to liberate the city because it lies in ruins. In one of the rooms, where Zubaida used to sleep, they have placed a teddy bear to remember the 17-year-old who died there.According to initial assessments by UNESCO, some 20,000 buildings were destroyed as the city’s 15 neighbourhoods were razed to the ground. As coalition airstrikes struck all five bridges along the Tigris River, only three have been reconstructed, and as UNESCO stated: “The level of destruction is unmatched since the Second World War.”

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Mosul’s once economic centre, the Old City, now bears a closer resemblance to a mass cemetery.A few metres from the al-Nuri mosque’s destroyed minaret, where the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi pronounced his first and last public sermon in July 2014, Mohammed Qadir, who is internally displaced, visits his former house.“If you want to know, this is the story of how my family and I lived under ISIS occupation. This is the house, the home we used to live in, and I lost a child, a daughter aged 17 years old,” he explained.Once inside the house, Qadir explains how his daughter Zubaida died inside the bathroom.“She was hit by a mortar shell that struck her legs. Her flesh was on the wall, which are the black spots, and the rest is shrapnel,” he said. “She was immediately thrown from this area and into the yard.”Qadir recounted how he watched his daughter die in the strike that destroyed his home.“Her uncle’s wife saw her from the window and began screaming, saying the child is dead. I approached her to find her chest covered in smoke and gunpowder from the explosion. We moved her to our neighbour’s house and gave her first aid, and we were pulling her by her leg, then her leg flew in this direction, inside our neighbour’s house, complete with her whole foot, flying into our neighbour’s house,” he says.He went on to describe how he was too distressed to take her to hospital, which was being run by the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS, ISIL), leaving it to his son and cousin.“He told them that his sister was injured and they said that they do not admit such cases to the hospital: you either take her to the house to die there or we give her a shot to end her life. We care mainly for the fighters, for these cases we do not; secondly, she, as they said, had been deformed. So they did not treat her till she died.”Qadir now lives in a one-room home with his wife and three children. He cannot return to the house where they were living before the operation to liberate the city because it lies in ruins. In one of the rooms, where Zubaida used to sleep, they have placed a teddy bear to remember the 17-year-old who died there.According to initial assessments by UNESCO, some 20,000 buildings were destroyed as the city’s 15 neighbourhoods were razed to the ground. As coalition airstrikes struck all five bridges along the Tigris River, only three have been reconstructed, and as UNESCO stated: “The level of destruction is unmatched since the Second World War.”

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