Girl in the rubble: Horrific image tells story of tragedy & neglect in liberated Mosul
Her decomposing body lies amid scores of others. It’s difficult to say who the girl is, or how long she’s been there. But her image is a tragic symbol of the price Mosul paid for liberation – and of how much needs to be done.
The shocking image, taken from a Ruptly video report filmed in Mosul’s Old City, tells a story of scores of civilians killed either by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) or US-led coalition bombs and munitions during the months-long siege of Mosul. Many of the dead remain between the rubble, as locals wait for aid and assistance promised by the coalition more than half a year after the city’s liberation.
Ruptly producer Dr. Bashar al-Khafaji said that the girl’s body was dug out from the debris during a clean-up effort organized by locals in the Al-Makkawi area of the Old City.
"The smell was unbearable from the large number of bodies scattered in the streets and houses. The bodies were of dozens of children and women," said the producer, who was filming in the area. "It looked as if the majority of the bodies are civilians. There were women, children, old people," he added.
The girl, like so many who perished during the siege, has not been identified. She is just one of 500 who have been removed from the area and handed over to the city’s forensics department, according to Laith Ibrahim, a Mosul Municipality Department associate. He told Ruptly that there were still more bodies to be found "in the houses and roads."
Residents who survived the siege say that the neglect they’ve received at the hands of the coalition has made life unbearable in the pulverized city. They are demanding answers from the government and the coalition, who promised to provide help with cleaning the bodies and war’s remnants.
At least 2,521 civilians were killed and 1,673 wounded during the months-long US-led coalition operation in Mosul – the figures considered “absolute minimum” by the UN. Despite hailing its Mosul operation as a major military and humanitarian triumph, the US-led coalition has been conspicuously absent from the city, according to locals, who say that there are no coalition forces now ready to help on ground, because “they're scared of coming here,” leaving the residents alone as they struggle to get back to normal life.
RT has requested comments from Iraqi and US officials as well as multiple human rights organizations on the current situation in Mosul, but has yet to receive a response.