After three years of living under the so-called Islamic state residents of battle scarred Mosul are attempting to rebuild their lives.
OPINION: #Mosul aftermath: How #Iran is shaping #Iraq’s future. Columnist
pierreghanem</a> writes: <a href="https://t.co/6Uha8f42wL">https://t.co/6Uha8f42wL</a> <a href="https://t.co/UCgbTZNwDn">pic.twitter.com/UCgbTZNwDn</a></p>— Al Arabiya English (AlArabiya_Eng) July 14, 2017
Amidst the rubble, a ray of light a simple pontoon bridge is being celebrated.
Named Victory Bridge the temporary structure is the only crossing over Iraq’s Tigris River.
It links devastated West Mosul with the east.
nfcinereporter</a> <br>Don't turn our backs on the people of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mosul?src=hash">#Mosul</a> ... <a href="https://t.co/53kXRutj2V">pic.twitter.com/53kXRutj2V</a> <a href="https://t.co/Wzwywmxf4M">https://t.co/Wzwywmxf4M</a></p>— HadiShafiee (hadishafiee2) July 14, 2017
These residents were shocked by what they found:
“West Mosul is deserted.You can see cars coming and going. But there are no people living there , there is no food, no basic needs. We went there and came back. There is no way to live there,” said one man.
“The Iraqi military said that our area was liberated, so we went to see our houses and we found them leveled to the ground. No furniture, no house, no nothing.No, there are no services not in our area, it’s a ghost town. You can smell death and the scale of damage is huge.”
Despite relief that IS has been defeated in the city insecurity is rife among the traumatised population, the city is laid to waste, the economy is shattered and infrastructure, schools, hospitals and universities are now heaps of dusty rubble.