Iraqi troops fighting to take back Mosul reached the banks of the River Tigris yesterday and declared the eastern half of the city freed from Islamic State rule.
“Today we celebrate the liberation of the eastern bank in Mosul,” said Lieutenant-General Talib Shaghati, head of the elite US-trained counterterrorism force known as the Golden Division. Read here.
While many residents have fled an ongoing battle to retake Iraq’s second city, thousands of families displaced in Mosul are struggling to find food, water and remain in the firing line. With photos by Ivor Prickett. Read here.
Outside the Saint Shmony Church the bells are ringing over a deserted town. Christmas Eve mass has just finished and the congregation file past the wooden pews, out through large iron doors and into the rainy courtyard. It’s cold but there is a sense of joy and relief to be back. Read here.
Mosul’s Christians are celebrating their third Christmas in exile, but this year there is new hope that the beleaguered community will soon be able to return home for the first time in two and a half years. Read here. Photo by Jodi Hilton.
Lacking food and medical care, families from the town of Hawija are braving minefields on foot to reach safety in UNHCR camp. Read here. Photograph by Ivor Prickett
At a field hospital on Mosul’s eastern edge, wounded children arrive to be treated by volunteer medics. Isis is attacking civilians trapped inside the city and now the death toll is rising, including children slain the group as they try to escape their homes on the front line. Read here. Photograph by Ivor Prickett for UNHCR.
In Hasansham camp a 41-year-old father of nine stood outside his tent and warned that people in the camp could not speak freely because Daesh had messengers among them.
“I don’t have a problem with Daesh,” says a young man who used to sell bikes in Mosul, as he walked back towards the entrance of the camp, which by now, without any power, was almost pitch black. He wanted to join Daesh, but his dad wouldn’t let him. Read here.
the Islamic State is leaving not just a trail of physical destruction but also environmental damage as a punishment to civilians left behind. Story here.
Women and children are now alone in Mosul after their husbands and fathers were killed or captured by Isil. Caught along the battle lines as Iraqi forces push forward to oust Isil from Iraq’s second city, they must now make an awful decision: stay and await the fight, or flee across the front lines. Read more here.
Exclusive: As the battle against Isis continues, civilians escaping to nearby Qayyarah describe conditions on the front line of the fight between jihadis, the Iraqi army and the federal police. Read more here.