Photos show daily life around Mosul as Iraqi forces battle ISIS
Friday marked the 19th day of Iraqi forces’ operation to take back the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, and fears are growing for the residents still trapped there.
Reporters for VICE News have been documenting the situation, capturing the realities of daily life for those displaced by the fighting.
Daniel Bateman has been following the humanitarian crisis around Mosul and in the nearby Dibaga refugee camp. Here are some of his photographs:
Firefighters struggle to put out oil fires lit by IS in the town of Qayyarah. IS uses the oil fires as a scorched-earth tactic, blackening the skies in an attempt to hide its fighters’ movements from coalition aircraft.
A baby is passed over a barbed wire fence at the Dibaga refugee camp outside Erbil. A number of men there are detained and separated from their families while they are screened by officials to determine whether they have links to IS.
In the town of Qayyarah, two young boys stand on the roof of their house, situated right next to an oil well set alight by IS. The fire has been raging for weeks, and their health has been severely affected. In the background is the town’s hospital, which remains almost completely destroyed and unable to provide necessary health care.
A young child plays around the oil fires of Qayyarah. Life continues now that IS has left the town, but many suffer from constant coughing and vomiting, with their hands and feet permanently covered in black, oily soot.
Hind Hassan has been at the camps and villages near Mosul, where the internally displaced seek safety:
A young girl sees her brother for the first time in nearly three years. He managed to flee the village of Tobzawa before ISIS blocked the route out. His sister is now at the Al-Khazer camp for the internally displaced.
A son sees his mother for the first time in over two years. His brother, father, and cousins are also at the Al-Khazer camp outside Mosul. They managed to flee the IS controlled village of Tobzawa after Iraqi and Kurdish forces pushed the militants out.
The animals in the town of Qayyarah are covered in soot from area oil wells, which have been burning for more than two months. Residents said they’re suffering from severe health problems as a result. Millions may have been exposed the poisonous gases released from the fumes, according to the UN.
A young girl named Buraq plays with other children in the town of Qayyarah. She said she finds it difficult to breathe sometimes because of the oil wells IS set ablaze before the group fled in August.
Cover: Daniel Bateman