Sunday, 16 April 2017

PHOTOS: Painting New Life in East Mosul After ISIS

Painting New Life in East Mosul After ISIS

April 15, 2017 (Preemptive Love)


New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi shared a series of powerful tweets from her recent visit to east Mosul. The eastern side of the city was liberated in January. But signs of ISIS rule—and the death it brought—still remain. One painter is taking it upon himself to do something about that, replacing ISIS graffiti with messages of hope.

You've been sharing tangible hope with the people of east Mosul for months—in the form of food, refurbished medical clinics vaccinating babies and caring for pregnant moms, and repairs to Mosul's battle-damaged water system. You're showing up in west Mosul, too—where the battle against ISIS still rages. 

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Iraq: IS launches chlorine gas attacks in western Mosul

Iraq: IS launches chlorine gas attacks in western Mosul

Apr. 15, 2017 (AP)

BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi military officer says Islamic State militants have launched a gas attack in a newly-liberated area in western Mosul.
The officer with the anti-terrorism forces said Saturday that the attack occurred the night before in the al-Abar neighborhood, when IS fired a rocked loaded with chlorine. He said seven soldiers suffered breathing problems and were treated in a nearby field clinic.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.
U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are currently battling IS militants in the more densely-populated western half of Mosul. Iraqi officials say more than half of western Mosul has been retaken. The extremists were driven out of the eastern half of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in January.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

ISIS ‘minister of war’ from Tajikistan killed by allied airstrike in Mosul

ISIS ‘minister of war’ from Tajikistan killed by allied airstrike in Mosul 

15 April 2017 (The Times)

 


The highest ranking Islamic State commander in Mosul, described as the jihadists’ minister of war, has been killed in an airstrike, reports The Times.

Gulmurod Khalimov, who was originally from Tajikistan, was in the west of the city last week when the missile struck. It was the third time in recent months that he had been the target of an airstrike, according to an Iraqi military source.

The source said that Khalimov, who had training from US special forces during his time in Tajikistan’s regular armed forces, had been responsible for planning the jihadists’ defence of Mosul and was behind hundreds of car bombings against the coalition.

VIDEO: Babies Starve Due to Prolonged Battle in Mosul

Babies Starve Due to Prolonged Battle in Mosul

Apr 14, 2017 (Christian Post)



A nurse checks patient Iraqi girl Nawras Raed, six months, at a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Qayyara, Iraq, April 6, 2017.

A hospital in Qayyara, about 60 kilometers south of Mosul, has opened a new specialist ward to deal with the growing number of malnourished children as fighting rages on between the armed forces and the jihadists holed up in the city. The dire situation highlights the war's heavy toll on several hundred thousand trapped civilians.

The hospital scene is heartbreaking. Infants shriek due to hunger pangs but doctors cannot feed them as it might worsen their condition. Most of the babies are less than six months old, which means they were born at the time when government forces closed the last major supply route, leading to food shortages in Mosul. Locals who have managed to escape Mosul say there is almost nothing to eat there but flour mixed with water and boiled wheat grain. Whatever little food remains are too expensive for most inhabitants to afford or are hoarded for Islamic State (ISIS) members and their supporters.

"Normally, nutritional crises are much more common in Africa and not in this kind of country," pediatrician Rosanna Meneghetti told Reuters. "We did not anticipate this."
The problem is partly pointed to the lack of traditional breastfeeding among mothers. Much as they wanted to breastfeed their babies, many mothers are unable to do so due to the physical and emotional rigors of living in a war zone.
"The mother is very stressed and can't find much food herself so cannot produce so much milk," Meneghetti explained.

One of the mothers was forced to feed her baby with either sugar or flour dissolved in water.
While most of Mosul have been retaken, the U.S.-led coalition is struggling to eject the militants from several districts in the west, including the Old City. The offensive is taking longer than authorities have predicted. The longer the campaign drags, the more people die — especially children.

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Iran-Controlled Militia Groups Playing Key Role in Operations in Mosul, Kirkuk

Iran-Controlled Militia Groups Playing Key Role in Operations in Mosul, Kirkuk

Apr 13, 2017 (Middle East Institute)


The spokesman of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (P.M.F.) reiterated today that its forces will play a leading role in military operations in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh and Kirkuk – particularly in the strategic city of Tal Afar in western Mosul. “The Popular Mobilization Forces have a commanding and extensive presence and participation in operational zones in Nineveh Province,” P.M.F. spokesman Ahmad al-Assadi said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). “The Popular Mobilization Forces will certainly take part in liberating Tal Afar. The operation will begin in a few days.” He further explained: “At present, these forces are stationed between Tal Abta in the south and Sinjar in the north of Nineveh Province. In addition to repelling Daesh [Islamic State] attacks in this zone, [P.M.F] also assists other forces that are participating in operations to liberate the remaining regions in the northwestern front and western parts of Mosul.” The P.M.F. commander also revealed that the militia forces will also be part of military operations in al-Hawija District and its surrounding regions in Kirkuk Province.

Comment: The Iraqi security forces began military operations in western Mosul in February after they recaptured eastern parts of the city from the Islamic State. But prior to that, it was Iran-backed militia groups that led operations against the Islamic State in western Mosul and they still hold significant influence in the region. About 60 percent of the western flank of Mosul has been retaken, while terrorists still control the rest – including the center of the strategic city of Tal Afar. Difficult terrain and population density have reportedly slowed down operations in western Mosul. The Islamic State using local population as human shield has further compounded the operations.
But while the ultimate seizure of the region from the Islamic State is certain, post-liberation security and stability in Mosul – and in Iraq in general – is far from guaranteed. For now, the Islamic State as the common enemy has brought all sides together. The Iraqi security forces, Iran-controlled Shiite militia groups, and U.S.-led coalition, and other Iraqi factions are currently all battling the Islamic State. But once the common enemy is defeated, divisions and rivalries will intensify.

In western Mosul, Iran-controlled groups pose the biggest threat to the region’s security. The prominent role of sectarian Shiite militias under the command of the I.R.G.C. worries Iraqi Sunnis and regional Sunni states. These groups have committed engaged in acts of arbitrary killing, kidnapping, looting and rights abuses in the past. It is feared that they may engage in revenge killing against Sunni inhabitants of western Mosul once the Islamic State is ousted.
The P.M.F. consists of militia forces largely from Shiite but also other Iraqi ethnic and religious groups, and the alliance has now been legally integrated into the Iraqi security forces. However, the most powerful units with the P.M.F. are controlled by the I.R.G.C., which poses threat not only to the Iraqi security but also to U.S. military advisers who are assisting Iraqi security forces in Mosul an across the country. Recently, Iran-linked Iraqi militia groups have launched a vicious propaganda campaign against the United States and pressured the Baghdad government to “expel” American forces from Iraq.

Friday, 14 April 2017

'Be strong': Iraqis wounded in Mosul try trauma counseling to cope

'Be strong': Iraqis wounded in Mosul try trauma counseling to cope

April 13, 2017 (Reuters)

Iraqi Jamal Ahmed, 16, who lost his leg during the fighting in Mosul, attends a physiotherapy session at Red Cross Physical Rehabilitation C

SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Lying in a hospital bed, Iraqi student Ahmed Khalaf is close to despair after having lost a leg when rocket shrapnel hit him as he ran for his life from Islamic State (IS) militants in Mosul.

"Be strong, Ahmed, and have no fear," psychotherapist Karam Saad advises the 20-year-old Khalaf as he relates how his family had just set out from home to escape western Mosul's war zone three weeks ago, only for the rocket to crash nearby.

Khalaf is in now in a hospital south of Mosul but has lost contact with his father and brother, who were seriously wounded in the March 19 incident. The father and brother are in intensive care in different clinics in Erbil in the relatively peaceful Kurdish autonomous region 80 km (50 miles) from Mosul. They are among 320,000 civilians displaced by the six-month-old battle for Iraq's second largest city,  which U.S.-backed government forces are striving to wrest back from Islamic State jihadists who seized it in 2014.

Khalaf is struggling to come to terms with the fact doctors had to amputate his right leg above the knee. He was offered trauma support, something unusual in deeply conservative and religious Iraq, to help him cope with his new disability.

"The psychological sessions have helped me but these thoughts keep coming back about what has happened to me, to my father and brother. They keep coming and coming," Khalaf tells the psychotherapist.

"I can't think of my future right now. But, God willing, I can resume my life, continue my school studies." The humanitarian group Handicap International has given counseling to Khalaf and more than 5,300 other displaced people from Mosul. It has also provided physical rehabilitation to almost 1,200 badly wounded people including amputees. But with the battle entering its seventh month and around 400,000 civilians still trapped in the militants' fiercely defended last urban bastion in Iraq - Mosul's labyrinthine Old City, this is just the start. "Facing a crisis of such scale, the humanitarian organizations may have difficulties in responding to all the needs," said Marlene Sigonney, the group's spokeswoman.

The idea of psychotherapy is relatively new in Iraq, where as in other conservative Arab countries people with emotional problems tend to seek help in a mosque or church, not a clinic. "In Iraqi society, people are reluctant to deal with psychological issues," said Saad, who graduated from Mosul University before Islamic State overran the city. "They accept treatment only for the worst mental cases."

Apart from suffering from trauma, Iraqis who have lost legs or arms in war zones also struggle to get artificial limbs. At a specialist center run by the International Committee for the Red Cross in Erbil, patients must wait two months for treatment. The Erbil clinic is trying to recruit more specialists to help cope with an overflow of 210 cases from war-torn Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the regional capital. One of those learning to walk again is Ahmed Ammar, a car mechanic and father of five who ran a garage in western Mosul.

"I opened the yard door and an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded," he said as he practiced with his new prosthetic leg at the Erbil hospital.
"They cut off my leg from the ankle and fitted a prosthetic leg but then I got gangrene and they cut off my leg further from the knee (down). Islamic State planted the device. They took my leg."

Iraqis in ‘liberated’ Mosul want services restored

Iraqis in ‘liberated’ Mosul want services restored



MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The airstrike crater on a once-busy road in eastern Mosul is filled with murky water and lined with garbage, a nearby market shrouded in the stench. The fight for Iraq’s second largest city ended nearly three months ago, but little is back to normal. Iraq declared the eastern half of Mosul “fully liberated” in January and launched an ongoing operation for the western half the following month. But the destruction left by the fighting is visible everywhere in the east, and resentment is already mounting at the slow pace of reconstruction.

That could have implications for Iraq’s post-Islamic State future. Mosul is a mostly Sunni city, and widespread anger at the alleged corruption and mismanagement of the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad helped the extremists to gain a foothold in the city years ago — and overrun it in a matter of days in the summer of 2014. There is no running water or electricity in eastern Mosul, and government employees who had their salaries cut off during the extremists’ rule face a long process of security vetting before they can get paid again. Clearing crews can be seen here and there, filling in holes and dragging away the burnt shells of vehicles, but they face a daunting task.

“They brought two pipes with some gravel, and the governor and the director of the municipality came wearing workmen’s clothes to show that they were doing something,” said Riyadh Thanoun, the owner of a nut shop. He said they placed the pipes and gravel over a nearby stream where a bridge had been destroyed, but the makeshift crossing washed away in the first heavy rain.
“Now it is worse than it was before,” he said. “You can’t cross at all and have to make a long detour.”
His and other shops rely on costly outdoor generators for electricity. Damage to the water network has caused widespread diarrhea, and forced aid agencies to truck some 2.3 million liters of water into the city every day.

At the Noumania primary school for boys there are few desks or books. The windows are broken and a number of chalkboards are missing. Some classes have nevertheless resumed, even though the teachers are not being paid.

“They keep saying it will happen next month or next week, but nothing so far, only promises,” Principal Rafii Mahmoud said. When asked if the school provided lunches, he laughed. “On the contrary, they are bringing us food,” he said. Mohammed Abed Rabo, a member of parliament for Nineveh governorate, of which Mosul is the capital, blamed the situation on the “corruption and incompetence” of the local government. But Qusi Assaf, the governor’s assistant for reconstruction, said they were overwhelmed.

“We are doing our best but don’t have enough funds,” Assaf said. “It’s not just Mosul. Nineveh is a huge governorate, and we also have to provide for the camps in the middle of nowhere with a huge number of displaced people.”
Mahmoud said his teachers were working out of a sense of duty because children in Mosul had already lost two years of education under IS and couldn’t afford to lose more. He said it looked like the government was working for some other agenda, and that he could not even keep track of who was responsible for running the schools.
“We don’t have any vision for the future. We can count on God alone,” he said.

VIDEO: Kuwait opens school for Mosul IDPs in Erbil

Kuwait opens school for Mosul IDPs in Erbil

13/4/2017 (Rudaw)


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Five hundred boys and girls displaced from Mosul can now study at a school opened in Erbil by the Kuwait Consulate on Thursday.

Iraq’s Education Minister Muhammed Iqbal thanked Kuwait for the valuable initiative of the school, which consists of 14 classrooms housed in portables.

The school is one of five established by Kuwait for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Hassarok, Kasnazan, Hassan Sham camp, and in Duhok governorate, detailed project supervisor Nassrin Suqi.

Kuwait has also constructed three health centres for IDPs, Suqi added.

“The Kuwait government started a launch for humanitarian aid in cooperation with the Iraqi government,” the Kuwait Consul in Erbil, Omar Ahmed al-Kandari, told Rudaw. “The aid consists of a food basket for each IDP family, in addition to providing stationary and backpacks for 600 students who study in the school constructed by Kuwait.”

More than 3 million Iraqis are currently displaced throughout the country.



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Thursday, 13 April 2017

After Mosul: Al-Abadi’s biggest test is yet to come

After Mosul: Al-Abadi’s biggest test is yet to come

12 April 2017 (Arab News)

It was over a month ago that Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi announced that the battle to recapture Mosul was entering its final stages. But seven months after the operation began, Iraqi troops are yet to take control of the heart of the heavily populated western sector of the city. Daesh fighters are refusing to give anything away without a bitter struggle. Iraqi forces are backed by US-led coalition jets that have intensified their bombing raids, sometimes with catastrophic results. On March 17, US airstrikes in west Mosul are believed to have killed at least 200 civilians, in what was described as the most devastating attack by the US against civilians in more than two decades.
Indiscriminate bombing by Iraqi forces of crowded neighborhoods in the besieged old city has killed hundreds of civilians since February. Daesh has carried out mass executions of people fleeing Mosul.

By the time the city, or what is left of it, is recaptured, the death toll could reach thousands. Eyewitness reports speak of destruction of entire neighborhoods; over 80 percent of the city is in ruins.

The civilian calamity does not stop here. Iraq’s government is blamed for gross negligence and ill preparation in dealing with hundreds of thousands of displaced citizens who have fled their homes since the battle for Mosul began. According to the UN and other agencies, between 300,000 and 400,000 civilians have been displaced and are living in inhumane conditions in refugee camps near east Mosul. They are in bad need of shelter, food and medicine, and Iraq’s government has been blamed for failing to prepare for the humanitarian crisis that was expected to unfold.

Liberating Mosul was always going to be a controversial operation. Daesh has been preparing for it for more than two years. The heavy resistance that its fighters have put up so far is not surprising. Their use of suicide bombers, explosives-laden cars, underground tunnels, booby-trapped houses and civilians as human shields was expected, making Iraqi forces’ advance costly and slow. The civilian toll and the deep humanitarian crisis have deepened political schisms in Baghdad and raised the stakes for the government. But the final outcome of the battle is assured. No matter the cost, retaking Mosul is a high priority for both Al-Abadi and US President Donald Trump. Dislodging Daesh from its most important stronghold in Iraq will be used by both as a major achievement.

The US hopes to use its victory in Mosul as a launch pad for its operation, led by a coalition of Syrian Kurds and Arab tribes, to advance on Raqqa in Syria, thus fulfilling one of Trump’s regional priorities. After Mosul, Iraqi forces, backed by the US, will head toward Daesh positions in Tal Affar and the border.

Al-Abadi knows his growing dependence on the US will exact a political price once the dust settles. Trump’s second regional priority centers on weakening and containing Iranian influence in Iraq and Syria. In the former he needs Al-Abadi, who now finds himself fending off attacks by members of his Dawa Party and other pro-Iran politicians and power players.

The battle for Mosul, despite its heavy political and humanitarian cost, will be small compared to what awaits Al-Abadi. As well as dealing with the challenge of repatriation and reconstruction, he must find ways to attract disgruntled Sunnis who see themselves as victims of Daesh terror, Shiite retribution and a dysfunctional political system. Mustering the political will to launch national reconciliation and fix an ailing and corrupt system will not be easy.
This is perhaps why he needs the support of Saudi Arabia, whose Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir was in Baghdad last month on a historic visit, and other Arab countries. Undercutting Iran’s influence in Iraq was one of the objectives of the Arab League Summit last month in Jordan. The summit’s final communique called on Iraqi leaders to find ways to end policies of exclusion and achieve national reconciliation.

Another challenge facing Al-Abadi after the Mosul battle lies with Iraqi Kurdish political and
territorial ambitions. Besides signs that the Irbil government is considering ceding from Iraq, it took a provocative measure last week in disputed oil-rich Kirkuk by raising the Kurdistan flag on government buildings.

A showdown between Iraqi Kurdistan and the Baghdad government in the coming weeks will test Al-Abadi’s ability to lead a fractured country that is grappling with sectarian rifts, failing institutions, kleptocracy and soon US-Iranian struggle for dominance. Al-Abadi will liberate Mosul, but his biggest test will be to keep his country intact following the fallout.


Born on the run: Mosul's mothers-to-be having roadside births

Born on the run: Mosul's mothers-to-be having roadside births

13 April, 2017 (Al Araby)

Three-days-old Layla at Hamam al-Alil IDP camp in Iraq [Save the Children]

Three-days-old Layla was born in the ruins of an abandoned house, with shelling and shooting all around. Her mother, Rehab, was only days away from her due date when fierce fighting in her neighbourhood forced her and her family to flee in the middle of the night.

The 17-year-old from west Mosul was struggling to walk and kept on falling. Around dawn when the fighting started again, she went into labour.

"I walked with the rest of the group but I kept on falling and was very tired," Rehab explained.

“I went into labour on the road. I was very scared for me and my baby but my mother and another older woman helped me.

“It was very quick, maybe just 15 minutes. We rested for about another 30 minutes and then we started running again,” the new young mother said.

The heart-rending story of Rehab and Layla is just one of many mothers who are facing traumatising conditions as they flee the ongoing violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
At least 400,000 people have been displaced since Iraqi security forces launched a huge offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group's Mosul stronghold on October 17.

The ongoing conflict in Mosul has had devastating consequences for an already vulnerable population.

More than 320,000 people – 60 percent of whom are estimated to be children – are currently displaced, with thousands more fleeing every day.
The battle in Iraq’s second largest city, which has been the Islamic group's de facto capital since 2014, is expected to take several more months.

The fighting has now reached the Old City where more than 300,000 people remain trapped and where the densely populated and narrow old streets are expected to further complicate the conflict.

Islamic State militants have repeatedly used civilians as human shields and shot and shelled people as they try to flee, amid coalition airstrikes, leaving pregnant women like Rehab not only fleeing for their lives but also forced to give birth on the run.

Despite the difficulties, Rehab still managed to give birth in very dangerous conditions. She and her family are now in the Hamam Al Alil reception centre, the main focal point for civilians fleeing Mosul.

More than 242,000 have been registered in the centre since the offensive began.

“Very young babies, many just days or weeks old are living in these conditions and their mothers, some who are as young as 15, are not getting the support they need,” said Save the Children’s Deputy County Director Aram Shakaram.

"The situation inside the reception centre is extremely poor and there is a widespread shortage of food, water and blankets. Whole families sleep on nothing but cardboard, huddling together for warmth at night," Shakaram added.
Save the Children has been providing education and psychosocial support to children displaced from Mosul with child protection teams working in reception centres to identity cases needing urgent assistance.

Twenty-day-old Lubna has been in the centre for almost two weeks. Her 15-year-old mother Reem was in labour for more than two days but could not get medical care due to the fighting raging outside. The second she was strong enough, her and her mother Masa fled with several other members of their family.
“Her aunt and I went out and tried to find a midwife even though the fighting was still going on," Reem's mother Masa said.

"We tried, but we could not find anyone. We were starting to really worry, but somehow we eventually found a nurse who was able to come to the house to help. Even with this, things were very difficult. Reem was in labour for two whole days. There was no clean water, no electricity, and no medicine. She was very sick and weak after the birth."

Masa said Reem's delivery was "very hard, very hard indeed," but there was nothing they could do because of the fighting.

"We wanted to leave Mosul,” she said.

“My brother has been killed and we wanted to go but Reem was too weak, so we stayed for five days and then we left and walked to safety. Thank god Lubna is healthy but we are very worried about her and that she will get sick in a place like this.”

Save the Children has said that most people are relocated quickly, but with thousands arriving every day and more than 320,000 people displaced since the Mosul offensive began six months ago, families, many with young children, are falling through the gaps.

Food and medical supplies in the city have been dwindling for months, with many new arrivals saying they had completely run out of food and water.
Since the offensive began, the aid agency has distributed 3,740 newborn care packages, which have reached almost 11,500 infants.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has called on Iraqi and US-led coalition forces "to undertake an urgent review of tactics to ensure that the impact on civilians is reduced to an absolute minimum."

The civilian death toll is unknown, but the World Health Organisation estimates that more than 6,000 people have been hospitalised since the Mosul offensive began. At least 29 percent of those injured are estimated to be children under the age of 15.




'We treat people, we don't judge them': US medics care for all in Mosul battle

'We treat people, we don't judge them': US medics care for all in Mosul battle

13 April 2017 (Middle East Eye)


MOSUL, Iraq - It is early morning when soldiers rush in a screaming patient, cutting into the calm of a coffee break among the American volunteer doctors. With his face torn and teeth pulled, the young man looks more dead than alive. His cheeks are covered with soil, suggesting to medics he had been buried alive, while red marks around his neck suggest he has been choked.
In this makeshift clinic on western Mosul's front line, the sounds of bombs and bullets are never far away as the medics work on the next case.

Their brief moments of rest last only until the next ambulance or armoured vehicle unloads its charges, be they children ripped apart by shrapnel or soldiers shot or blasted in battles with Islamic State. This is the second time the doctors have seen this patient. The 18-year-old, Hamid, is known to all.

"He's been badly tortured again, that's clear," one of the volunteers says. "By whom? God knows."
Carrie Garavan, the lead doctor examining the patient, says the man shakes uncontrollably when electronic equipment is brought near him. "He associated them with electric shocks," she says.
This is the reality of this "stabilisation point" in western Mosul, run by the 'NYC Medics' NGO in conjunction with the World Health Organisation. It is a crucial first line of care for those wounded in a battle that has become bogged down in the old city area. Armoured cars are useless in the narrow streets, and the threat of IS snipers looms large as they move like ghosts between buildings still filled with civilians.

Iraqi forces fight in the narrow streets of old city (MEE/Marielle van Uitert)

But not all here think Hamid should be helped - there are suggestions he is an IS fighter.
Peter, a translator born in Mosul, storms out of the treatment room in anger.
"The guy keeps lying," he says. "First he says he has escaped IS, then that he's not. Then he makes up another story." 
"He is 100 percent IS," Peter claims, before stating: "This man should have been killed." 
"He killed many people himself. He had already been judged and condemned to death."  

But for the American medics, their only job is to save lives, not decide who is worthy of aid.
"Whatever crimes he has committed, he is still a human being in great pain who needs medical treatment," says Kathy Bequary, the executive director of NYC Medics. 
"If we didn't treat this patient like any other, regardless of his background, then what's the difference between IS and whoever did this to him?
"An Iraqi officer once told me they were not fighting only for their country, but for humanity. 
"This is exactly the battle we're all fighting here: the battle for humanity."
Garavan adds: "We are here to treat people, not to interrogate or judge them."

An injured soldier is brought to the NYC Medics clinic in Mosul (MEE/Marielle van Uitert)

Ali is not the first torture victim to arrive at the clinic. There have been others dumped at its doors.
"One of our first cases were a husband and his pregnant wife who had escaped IS," says Bequary.
"The couple had been tortured by IS when they tried to escape. She lost her baby."

It is an IS terror tactic that has become industrialised in Mosul. During an operation last week, Iraqi soldiers uncovered a range of torture instruments in a house that had served as an IS prison.
Abu Adnan Hazem al-Tai is sitting next to his house opposite the prison, while his granddaughters are running around. "We have never been inside, but we saw prisoners being brought in every day," he says. "IS was everywhere. My son-in-law was shot when they knocked at his door, just because he wasn't quick enough to open it."

Blood marks the spot where an IS fighter lies dead in western Mosul (MEE/Marielle van Uitert)


A few blocks from the clinic, a small convoy of exhausted refugees includes a grandmother, toddlers and a cage full of chicken. The refugees have walked for hours under cover of night to escape the grip of IS. 
Pick-ups packed with others are driving in the direction of nearby Hammam al-Alil camp.
In the same street, people are pushing carts piled with furniture in opposite direction: their area has been declared safe, so they are heading home today.
Hussein Hamid Harbi, 25, a member of the Iraqi police's Rapid Response Division, has lost several friends in previous battles against IS in Ramadi, Fallujah and Tikrit. This time it is different.

"These are the last hours for IS, in Iraq and hopefully in the world," he says.
But Ibtisam Saleh, a 40-year-old refugee, fears a bout of revenge after the defeat of IS. She is sitting with some other women in a courtyard, drinking tea and eating bread.
"They will accuse one another: her son was an IS member, his brother fought with a Shia militia... I am afraid that it is only going to get worse here."
That fear has crystallised in the stabilisation centre manned by NYC medics. Hamid has been patched up, despite the protests of the local translator.

A poster of the Ali al-Sistani, the highest Shia power in Iraq, in majority-Sunni Mosul (MEE/Marielle van Uitert)



Hamid does not say who inflicted his injuries, but what is known is this: he was escorted by two Iraqi policemen the last time he left the clinic.
"He was supposed to be transported to another, more advanced hospital for further treatment," says Garavan. 
"All we know is that he never arrived. And that we now have him here again, buried alive."
This time, the doctors decide to provide their own escort in the ambulance. 
"The patient begged us to not leave him alone."

PHOTOS: Painting New Life in East Mosul After ISIS

Painting New Life in East Mosul After ISIS April 15, 2017 (Preemptive Love) New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi shared a se...