The Struggle After the Fight in Mosul - What Does Liberation Really Mean?

Published July 11th, 2017 - 20:05 GMT

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On July 9th 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul. Ten months after Iraqi forces together with Kurdish fighters and Shi’ite militias backed by the US and Britian began their offensive against Daesh and three years after Daesh declared the city the stronghold of a “caliphate”. 

But while the military fight against Daesh might be won, the humanitarian suffering continues. Nearly one million people have been displaced,  and many have lost their relatives and are unable to return home. They lack adequate shelter, food and medical supplies and carry the trauma of the war with them. 

Whether living in refugee camps, or returning home, for the residents of Mosul another struggle begins, the struggle of rebuilding their lives and their future overcoming the destruction they have witnessed. 

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Since the start of the offensive against Daesh in Mosul in October 2016, around 920,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. About 700,000 people are still displaced, the majority of whom are staying in camps around Mosul. Many of these refugees lack adequate shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Since the start of the offensive against Daesh in Mosul in October 2016, around 920,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. About 700,000 people are still displaced, the majority of whom are staying in camps around Mosul. Many of these refugees lack adequate shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

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While many civilians have managed to leave the city as a result of the fight, others have been forced to enter the zones of conflict in Mosul, being used as human shields by Daesh. Sometimes, they have been trapped inside their homes and prevented access to food and medical care. Those who attempted to flee, feared being killed.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10While many civilians have managed to leave the city as a result of the fight, others have been forced to enter the zones of conflict in Mosul, being used as human shields by Daesh. Sometimes, they have been trapped inside their homes and prevented access to food and medical care. Those who attempted to flee, feared being killed.

(Source: AFP/ Aris Messinis )

Enlarge
Severe human rights violations have not only been committed by Daesh. The Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces carried out attacks that left thousands of civilians dead and hundreds wounded. The use of weapons with “crude targeting abilities” and the lack of necessary precautions caused “disproportionate suffering”, says Amnesty.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Severe human rights violations have not only been committed by Daesh. The Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces carried out attacks that left thousands of civilians dead and hundreds wounded. The use of weapons with “crude targeting abilities” and the lack of necessary precautions caused “disproportionate suffering”, says Amnesty.

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge
The battle for Mosul destroyed many hospitals and made access to medical supplies difficult. According to Medicine Sans Frontier, many patients died as they could not be provided with the intensive care they needed. Here, an Iraqi child that fled the fighting in Mosul receives treatment in a hospital in Arbil.
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10The battle for Mosul destroyed many hospitals and made access to medical supplies difficult. According to Medicine Sans Frontier, many patients died as they could not be provided with the intensive care they needed. Here, an Iraqi child that fled the fighting in Mosul receives treatment in a hospital in Arbil.

(Source: AFP/ Safin Hamed)

Enlarge
Those who have managed to survive the battle without physical injuries still carry the trauma of the war inside them. They have become witnesses to the atrocities committed in their city, seeing family members and friends die during the war, sometimes in front of their own eyes. Particularly children suffer from psychological damages.
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Those who have managed to survive the battle without physical injuries still carry the trauma of the war inside them. They have become witnesses to the atrocities committed in their city, seeing family members and friends die during the war, sometimes in front of their own eyes. Particularly children suffer from psychological damages.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

Enlarge
An Iraqi boy walks down a street near Mosul's University on January 22, 2017. The fight for Mosul has left six districts almost completely destroyed. Many displaced people cannot return home because their houses and livelihoods are gone. In addition, remaining mines and explosive remnants make a safe return difficult.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10An Iraqi boy walks down a street near Mosul's University on January 22, 2017. The fight for Mosul has left six districts almost completely destroyed. Many displaced people cannot return home because their houses and livelihoods are gone. In addition, remaining mines and explosive remnants make a safe return difficult.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

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The city's basic infrastructure has been shattered. According to the Nineveh governorates, three quarters of Mosul’s roads, almost all of its bridges, 65 percent of electrical network and large parts of the city’s water infrastructure are ruined.
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10The city's basic infrastructure has been shattered. According to the Nineveh governorates, three quarters of Mosul’s roads, almost all of its bridges, 65 percent of electrical network and large parts of the city’s water infrastructure are ruined.

(Source: AFP)

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Following the battle, some already start looking into the future. In east Mosul, where fighting has been less destructive, many shops, markets and café places have re-opened. Here, an old man inspects a satellite dish. From 2014 until its defeat, Daesh forcefully prevented residents from having contact with the rest of the world.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Following the battle, some already start looking into the future. In east Mosul, where fighting has been less destructive, many shops, markets and café places have re-opened. Here, an old man inspects a satellite dish. From 2014 until its defeat, Daesh forcefully prevented residents from having contact with the rest of the world.

(Source: AFP)

Enlarge
An Iraqi boy sits at a desk in a school in eastern Mosul. In January 2017, schools have started to re-open for the first time in three years. Under the control of Daesh, schools were either closed or followed the extremists’ group curricular. As a result, many children have been missing out on education during that time.
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10An Iraqi boy sits at a desk in a school in eastern Mosul. In January 2017, schools have started to re-open for the first time in three years. Under the control of Daesh, schools were either closed or followed the extremists’ group curricular. As a result, many children have been missing out on education during that time.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

Enlarge
The road of rebuilding their lives and reconstructing the city is a long one. Civilians in Mosul have been suffering from human rights violations by all sides, some of which might amount to war crimes according to Amnesty International (AI). The UN also estimates that initial repairs of the city will cost over $1billion.
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10The road of rebuilding their lives and reconstructing the city is a long one. Civilians in Mosul have been suffering from human rights violations by all sides, some of which might amount to war crimes according to Amnesty International (AI). The UN also estimates that initial repairs of the city will cost over $1billion.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

Enlarge

1

Since the start of the offensive against Daesh in Mosul in October 2016, around 920,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. About 700,000 people are still displaced, the majority of whom are staying in camps around Mosul. Many of these refugees lack adequate shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation.

Image 1 of 10Since the start of the offensive against Daesh in Mosul in October 2016, around 920,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. About 700,000 people are still displaced, the majority of whom are staying in camps around Mosul. Many of these refugees lack adequate shelter, food, health care, water, and sanitation.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

2

While many civilians have managed to leave the city as a result of the fight, others have been forced to enter the zones of conflict in Mosul, being used as human shields by Daesh. Sometimes, they have been trapped inside their homes and prevented access to food and medical care. Those who attempted to flee, feared being killed.

Image 2 of 10While many civilians have managed to leave the city as a result of the fight, others have been forced to enter the zones of conflict in Mosul, being used as human shields by Daesh. Sometimes, they have been trapped inside their homes and prevented access to food and medical care. Those who attempted to flee, feared being killed.

(Source: AFP/ Aris Messinis )

3

Severe human rights violations have not only been committed by Daesh. The Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces carried out attacks that left thousands of civilians dead and hundreds wounded. The use of weapons with “crude targeting abilities” and the lack of necessary precautions caused “disproportionate suffering”, says Amnesty.

Image 3 of 10Severe human rights violations have not only been committed by Daesh. The Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces carried out attacks that left thousands of civilians dead and hundreds wounded. The use of weapons with “crude targeting abilities” and the lack of necessary precautions caused “disproportionate suffering”, says Amnesty.

(Source: AFP)

4

The battle for Mosul destroyed many hospitals and made access to medical supplies difficult. According to Medicine Sans Frontier, many patients died as they could not be provided with the intensive care they needed. Here, an Iraqi child that fled the fighting in Mosul receives treatment in a hospital in Arbil.

Image 4 of 10The battle for Mosul destroyed many hospitals and made access to medical supplies difficult. According to Medicine Sans Frontier, many patients died as they could not be provided with the intensive care they needed. Here, an Iraqi child that fled the fighting in Mosul receives treatment in a hospital in Arbil.

(Source: AFP/ Safin Hamed)

5

Those who have managed to survive the battle without physical injuries still carry the trauma of the war inside them. They have become witnesses to the atrocities committed in their city, seeing family members and friends die during the war, sometimes in front of their own eyes. Particularly children suffer from psychological damages.

Image 5 of 10Those who have managed to survive the battle without physical injuries still carry the trauma of the war inside them. They have become witnesses to the atrocities committed in their city, seeing family members and friends die during the war, sometimes in front of their own eyes. Particularly children suffer from psychological damages.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

6

An Iraqi boy walks down a street near Mosul's University on January 22, 2017. The fight for Mosul has left six districts almost completely destroyed. Many displaced people cannot return home because their houses and livelihoods are gone. In addition, remaining mines and explosive remnants make a safe return difficult.

Image 6 of 10An Iraqi boy walks down a street near Mosul's University on January 22, 2017. The fight for Mosul has left six districts almost completely destroyed. Many displaced people cannot return home because their houses and livelihoods are gone. In addition, remaining mines and explosive remnants make a safe return difficult.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

7

The city's basic infrastructure has been shattered. According to the Nineveh governorates, three quarters of Mosul’s roads, almost all of its bridges, 65 percent of electrical network and large parts of the city’s water infrastructure are ruined.

Image 7 of 10The city's basic infrastructure has been shattered. According to the Nineveh governorates, three quarters of Mosul’s roads, almost all of its bridges, 65 percent of electrical network and large parts of the city’s water infrastructure are ruined.

(Source: AFP)

8

Following the battle, some already start looking into the future. In east Mosul, where fighting has been less destructive, many shops, markets and café places have re-opened. Here, an old man inspects a satellite dish. From 2014 until its defeat, Daesh forcefully prevented residents from having contact with the rest of the world.

Image 8 of 10Following the battle, some already start looking into the future. In east Mosul, where fighting has been less destructive, many shops, markets and café places have re-opened. Here, an old man inspects a satellite dish. From 2014 until its defeat, Daesh forcefully prevented residents from having contact with the rest of the world.

(Source: AFP)

9

An Iraqi boy sits at a desk in a school in eastern Mosul. In January 2017, schools have started to re-open for the first time in three years. Under the control of Daesh, schools were either closed or followed the extremists’ group curricular. As a result, many children have been missing out on education during that time.

Image 9 of 10An Iraqi boy sits at a desk in a school in eastern Mosul. In January 2017, schools have started to re-open for the first time in three years. Under the control of Daesh, schools were either closed or followed the extremists’ group curricular. As a result, many children have been missing out on education during that time.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

10

The road of rebuilding their lives and reconstructing the city is a long one. Civilians in Mosul have been suffering from human rights violations by all sides, some of which might amount to war crimes according to Amnesty International (AI). The UN also estimates that initial repairs of the city will cost over $1billion.

Image 10 of 10The road of rebuilding their lives and reconstructing the city is a long one. Civilians in Mosul have been suffering from human rights violations by all sides, some of which might amount to war crimes according to Amnesty International (AI). The UN also estimates that initial repairs of the city will cost over $1billion.

(Source: AFP/ Dimitar Dilkoff )

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