The “Odor Is Killing Us”: Mosul Residents Decry Festering Bodies Left Under Rubble — 4 Years After Battle
“So far, 2,763 corpses of civilians have been uncovered. They were either killed by ISIS or by airstrikes"
Nearly four years after its liberation from the Islamic State (ISIS), hundreds of bodies remain buried under the rubble of the old city of Mosul.
Bones, skulls and clothes can be seen under collapsed buildings that have yet to be cleared or repaired.
“Their odour is killing us,” Amjad Mohammed, construction worker, told Rudaw of the bodies in his neighborhood. “We can’t go back home because of the odour.”
According to the civil defence department of Nineveh province, most of the bodies found have been in the neighborhoods of al-Shahwan, al-Maidan, al-Faruq, Bab Lagash and Qle’at.
“The airstrikes were conducted randomly. The houses were old, when a rocket hit a building it led to the collapse of three other neighbouring houses,” said Jasim Mahmood, a resident of the Bab Lagash neighbourhood. “There is a strong odor in Qle’at and al-Maidan neighborhoods, especially when there is a change in the wind’s direction.”
Nineveh authorities have formed a committee to remove the corpses. So far, they have found more than 4,000 dead bodies, of which more than 2,000 are believed to be ISIS militants.
Nonetheless, works continue, with hundreds of corpses still left under the rubble.
“Two to three bones [skeletons] emerge under the rubble on a daily basis,” said Mustafa Mawlud, a cleaner working in the area. “Some of the dead bodies have nothing left except for their hair, gun pouches, and traces.”
Nearly 8,000 buildings were destroyed in Nineveh province during the war against ISIS, according to the mayor of Mosul. Of this, 2,600 are in Mosul and still left in ruins.
“So far, 2,763 corpses of civilians have been uncovered. They were either killed by ISIS or by airstrikes. 2,150 corpses were of ISIS militants, some of them had either explosive belts or guns close to them. Some of them had foreign IDs. They were not only Iraqis,” said Zuhair al-Araji, the city’s mayor.