The faces behind Mosul's war
We met the people who survived the 9-month battle of Mosul, but also the three hard years of ISIS’ occupation. Each of the people you will find on this page has been seriously injured and gone through trauma. Like them, there are another 54,000 in Mosul alone.
The battle launched by Iraqi forces supported by Peshmergas and the US-led coalition has claimed the lives of a still unknown number of people. Estimates put the figure between 9,000 and 11,000 according to different sources. Among the residents who are coming back, and who will build the new foundations of Mosul, many carry the marks of the past.
I met Abdul Rahman very briefly at Handicap International’s rehabilitation centre in East Mosul. He looked at me with a mix of blankness and sadness. He is six-years-old and in June 2016 he lost his leg in a shelling. The same explosion killed his father. Abdul’s granny took him to the clinic for a follow up after he received a prosthetic limb.
Handicap International’s centre supports mainly war victims. A high number are amputees, needing rehabilitation, but we met also young people with spinal injuries and burn patients, these being the most common war injuries treated here.
Adil had his hand cut off by ISIS. He told us he was caught while he was trying to escape. He knew ISIS had killed people trying to flee, so he then told them he was taking some wheat to feed his family. Ten days later ISIS gathered a crowd of people and publicly chopped off his hand with a butcher’s knife in order to set an example. We went with him to the Emergency rehabilitation centre in Sulaymaniyah, where he received a prosthetic hand.
Adil Abdul was injured just in front of his home. He was about to open the door with three of his children when an explosion occurred. He lost consciousness and when he woke up he realized his leg was gone and two of his children were dead. Ada, 10-years-old at the time, survived but lost part of her leg too. They took me to their home in West Mosul, where the attack took place. The house is damaged and they are currently staying with relatives in East Mosul. Adil is waiting to gather enough money to be able to restore his family house.
Ahmed lost both his legs in November 2016. His mother, next to him in the photo, lost one leg. Their injuries are due to a booby trap connected by wire. The explosion killed her husband and injured four other people. Ahmed told us a total of 26 members of their family lost their lives since ISIS took control of Mosul.