Faithwire has obtained stunning new photographs from inside war torn Mosul, which reveal the extend to which ISIS devastated the city – including a walk through the iconic near 900-year-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, the landmark where in 2014 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced that ISIS would usher in the caliphate and that he would be the leader.
He made that announcement on July 4th, 2014, Here’s the good news: Iraq and America may soon be celebrating Independence Day together. Three years later, ISIS has lost most of the territory it once held, Russia and others have said it’s likely al-Baghdadi is dead, and the liberation of Mosul is reportedly imminent.
But there’s a long road ahead. The devastation ISIS inflicted on Iraq is immeasurable.
These pictures come from photo journalist Ahmed Dilshad Saraj, who lives and works in Iraq and specializes in covering war on the frontlines. He is absolutely fearless and has a huge heart, and I’ve witnessed both firsthand. You, too, will get a glimpse of it as you take a stroll with him through Mosul as he covered the final stages of the fight against ISIS.
The sound of gunfire can be overheard often and he came across several dead ISIS fighters (though I’ve skipped those clips, as they were quite disturbing).
What’s it like to be in Mosul right now?
Cars destroyed, roads pummeled, houses crumbling. Spent ammunition can be found laying around.
It looks like something out of a Hollywood movie. Pure devastation.
Ahmed took a moment to describe what Mosul looks and feels like. “It’s like Leningrad after second World War. It’s like… crap.”
For the past several months, trapped families have been looking for opportunities to escape. Countless civilians have died in the fighting, as ISIS shows no mercy, gunning down everyone who attempts to leave.
Ahmed spoke with some of the survivors moments after escaping the grip of the ruthless terrorist group. The wear the trauma of the past three years in their body language and on their faces. It’s sheer exasperation, and surely some relief. God only knows what these people have witnessed.
Deep in old city Mosul, centuries of civilization reduced to rubble. Gunshots can be heard ringing out.
Here is the ancient mosque, which ISIS had absolutely zero respect for. Completely destroyed.
Self-declared ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the caliphate here on America’s Independence Day. Three years later almost to the day, Mosul appears to be celebrating theirs.
Continued prayers for the people of Iraq, as they journey forward and look to put these horrific few years behind them.