ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The residents of Mosul are pleading with authorities to recover the bodies of civilians that remain under the ruins of the city following the fight against the so-called Islamic State.
Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, and formerly the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State in the country after it was occupied in June 2014, was significantly damaged and its reconstruction and rehabilitation have seen little progress, especially its public services.
Ghanim Saleh, a civilian in Mosul, said he does not want compensation for his losses, but only to recover the body of his 27-year-old son, Adnan, who was killed in 2017 during the operation to liberate the city from the terror group.
With his home and business under rubble, Saleh told Kurdistan 24 his only request is to find the body of his late son, so that he can give him a proper burial.
The search for bodies began in early 2018 by both governmental and volunteer teams, who recovered 2,800 civilian bodies mostly in the right bank of Mosul (west side). Over 800 of those bodies belonged to children, data from the Iraqi human rights commission revealed.
According to Husam Khalil, the head of the civil defense team in Mosul, official searches have ended because only a few bodies remain under the rubble in the city.
“There are remains of unidentified civilians and ISIS fighters alike in the right bank of Mosul which civilians discovered during reconstruction work,” Khalil told Kurdistan 24.
“Once civilians report the discovery of a body or smell of a rotting corpse [to authorities], only then will the civil defense teams head to the location to recover it,” he added.
Hundreds of thousands of former Mosul inhabitants remain displaced, with most of them currently residing in camps in the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Many residents who were displaced from Mosul began to return to their areas following the liberation of the city, but reverse migration continues as people come back to IDP camps in search of security and access to better services.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Chekdar Jamal)