The challenge of returning civilians to their homes in Mosul

World Today

Iraqi civilians flee through a destroyed alley as Iraqi Special Forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, July 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

In Iraq, a show of military force and celebration over the defeat of ISIL in Mosul. Troops and police marched through – and flew over the Green Zone in Baghdad.
The parade coincided with the 59th anniversary of Iraq changing from a monarchy to a presidential state.
But the challenge of returning civilians to their homes, in a city destroyed by war, remains.

CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports.
Follow Tony Cheng on Twitter @TLCBkk

An aid convoy from southern Iraq celebrates the liberation of Mosul, in the wreckage of the Old City.

The Shia militia has been supporting the troops, and the few civilians who remain.

But they’re keen to point out their role is supportive not military. Their goal is to rebuild – not divide according to Peoples Mobilization Force volunteer Sattar al Jilehawi:

“This is our country. When you see this city destroyed like this it hurts us inside, but there is nothing we could do. We needed to get ISIS out of this city to make peace. We came here to make peace.”

Before ISIL took control of Mosul, it was a bustling city of three million – the second largest in Iraq.

Now what remains are rows of collapsed shop fronts and houses, demolished in air strikes and artillery attacks.

Faced with this level of destruction rebuilding seems an impossible task.

And the first battle will be to win hearts and minds.

The first challenge will be security, while some reconstruction is underway.

Running water and sanitation pipes are the first priority.

People are desperate to get to their homes and those areas that are secure are now jammed with traffic.

Some families return to find their home in the Old City destroyed. And everything gone.

The battle for Mosul may have been won, but the hard work begins now.