It is said that every tragedy has a silver lining, but I find it extremely difficult to see one in the midst of what is happening in Mosul. There are bits and pieces of hope – the hopes of broken souls – but can what is broken be glued back together, will it ever be truly the same?
We cannot say how much worse the situation will get. So many bad things have happened in this part of Iraq, bad things that have piled on top of each other. With the liberation of Mosul under way, we still cannot classify it as a good thing because there is so much horror still happening within the city. We can hope and pray for something better to come, but things don’t always happen as expected, especially when it is a story of manmade evil; anything can happen.
For example, in the first week of fighting, civilians did not leave Mosul for the refugee camps that had been prepared for them outside of the city because it was too dangerous to come that way. That did not happen until a couple of days ago when refugees starting pouring into Khazir in their thousands. Khazir was the first area to be liberated from ISIS – this happened on the first day of battle, Sunday 16th October.
Needless to say, the situation for refugees fleeing Mosul and the surrounding villages is inhumane. In Khazir, aid organizations are still not able to reach many people as they are too close to ISIS. It is too dangerous to get to the people there even though they are in dire need of relief. They desperately need basic provisions – food and medical assistance – but we are struggling to get to them. In areas like Makhmour to the south of Mosul, where Debaga camp is, the situation is a bit better. However, a harsh winter is coming and there is already a lack of supplies.
It is true that ISIS is being driven out of Mosul and that gives its persecuted population a taste of joy, but its soul has been killed along with its children. The city has mutated into an unrecognisable pile of stones. If these stones could talk, they would cry for all the bloodshed they have witnessed.
Some of the Christians have gone back to their villages for the first time in two years to see the destruction in person. If they can, they will try to rebuild their shattered lives. To rebuild Mosul will be difficult. The city’s infrastructure is completely destroyed. It has literally been eaten inside and out; there is an entire tunnel system under the city that can fit a tank.
I have witnessed the events since day one. All I can say is that FRRME is and will continue to be there for the victims. They have lost homes, family, and children. A scar has been left on the face of the Earth but with your support and kindness we will do what we can to help feed the persecuted. Kindness is the only currency left and I wish for the day it becomes universal.
Dr Sarah Ahmed
Director of Operations in the Middle East
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