Mosul's grim search

Mosul's grim search
A+ A-
Search continues for bodies under rubble six years after liberation.

Six years after the liberation of Mosul from the brutal rule of the Islamic State (ISIS), the search continues for the dead buried under piles of rubble on the western bank of the city that suffered the brunt of nine months of intense warfare, reports Rudaw media network.

Search and rescue teams find between seven to eight bodies weekly. Two weeks ago, the remains of eleven individuals were discovered near Lays Hisham's house in Mosul's old city district.

"The more thoroughly they search, the more dead bodies they find," Hisham said. "Two weeks ago, they found 11 dead bodies near my house. Plenty of odors here include the smell of corpses, clothing, and other things."

The northern Iraqi city of Mosul is where ISIS' former leader declared their so-called caliphate in 2014. Dislodging the militants from the narrow, winding alleys of the old town was a grueling house-to-house battle. When victory was announced in July 2017, many centuries-old buildings were in ruins.

Since 2017, a total of 6,044 bodies have been recovered. Of those, 3,749 have been identified. The remaining 2,295 unidentified dead include 800 children. The city buries unknown bodies if the family does not claim them within two months.

"Following inspection of the bodies, we store them in refrigerators at the Mosul morgue for the legal timeframe of 60 days," said Shahd Arif, head of the Mosul forensic department. "On order from the court, we bury them in coordination with the Mosul municipality."