These ‘Before and After’ pictures show that – very slowly – some parts of Iraq liberated from Daesh are rising from the ashes

Daesh inflicted devastating damage across the territory it once held in Iraq, leaving residents unable to move around because of the shattered infrastructure; without the ability to access government services or enjoy any art or culture. This was of course exacerbated by the war to liberate those areas, which has left much to be rebuilt.

To illustrate the scale of the work that needs to be done, below is a set of interactive images, which show monuments destroyed by Daesh that are being brought back to life, thanks to the work of local and international actors (details below). It is important to remember though, that while progress has been made, much more needs to be done.

Mosul Museum: Royal Hall

In Mosul, Daesh filmed themselves ransacking the Mosul Museum, destroying priceless artefacts that were thousands of years old, aiming to crush what they called non-Islamic ideas. The cultural heritage of Iraq, the birthplace of civilization, is of major significance and the destruction was widely condemned. The Mosul Museum was recaptured from Daesh on March 7, 2017, and the city of Mosul was liberated in July 2017 after months of intense fighting. ALIPH, a heritage-focused project, the Smithsonian Institution, and the musée du Louvre, in close collaboration with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, worked together on the rebuilding. Mosul Museum’s first post-Daesh exhibition took place in January 2019.

Around Mosul University

In the neighbourhood surrounding Mosul University, the devastation was clear – roads were in ruins, businesses were closed down and wrecked, and residents fled in fear for their lives. Together, the people of Mosul with the government worked to remove rubble, repair the roads, and rehabilitate shops and buildings. Water pipelines were extended, sewage lines were repaired, and electricity power was restored by the local government. There is still much to be done.

Before photo credit 1: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Before photo credit 2: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Before photo credit 3: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Damaged Infrastructure

Road repair is an ongoing project, but so far hundreds of kilometres have been mended and repaved throughout Mosul, with many contributing to road repairs, including (first and foremost) the Iraqi Government, numerous international partners (donors pledged $30 billion to support over 200 reconstruction projects in Iraq at a conference in Kuwait), NGOs, and more. In this image, we see the repair of Baghdad Street in Mosul, which was carried out by the local government and the municipality and supported by the office of Provincial Restoration. The Electricity Department rehabilitated the street lights.

Before photo credit: Aris Messinis/AFP

Al-Dawasah Neighbourhood

The remaining mounds of trash and other sources of waste in the al-Dawasah neighbourhood endangered the local ecosystem, with pollutants blocking the flow of sewers and residents being exposed to hazardous substances on a daily basis. Clearing the debris (including the removal of IEDs), repairing the roads, and installing new sidewalks made it possible to live in the neighbourhood again.

Before photo credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

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