[Published on AFP’s Correspondent Blog on May 24, 2019]
Mosul — “There are families living in this alleyway.” The Arabic words were hand-painted in red, black, and blue on a tattered canvas, pinned up where a small side street led off a main thoroughfare in Iraq’s Mosul. The alleyway looked anything but livable — bullet holes and craters from mortar rounds still scarred the walls around it nearly two years after the fighting had stopped, and sewage water gurgled down the cracked pavement. The banner, my AFP colleagues said, was hung to alert passing aid groups to needy residents eking out a living, unseen, in the battered labyrinth of west Mosul.
[Published here on February 21, 2019]
Two feet deep, below a plot of farmland outside the Syrian city of Raqa, lies a large and deadly legacy of the Islamic State group: a mass grave holding an estimated 3,500 people.
I spoke to BBC Scotland’s Isabel Fraser and Gordon Brewer on February 16, 2019 on the deeply disturbing state of civilians fleeing the final Islamic State group pocket of Baghouz in eastern Syria.
Listen in here, with my interview starting around 1:07:00.
[Published here on February 15, 2019]
As destitute civilians stumble out of the Islamic State group’s last enclave in east Syria, a mixed bag of unlikely characters are pitching in to help get them to safety.
[Published here on February 14, 2019]
The cry echoed across the chalk-dry Syrian plain: “Water!” Within seconds, the truck carrying a few dozen bottles was emptied by parched refugees who had spent the night out in the open.
[Published here on February 13, 2019]
The ferocious battle for the Islamic State group’s last bastion in eastern Syria entered its fifth day on Wednesday, as exhausted families left the ever-shrinking scrap of land where holdout jihadists have been boxed in by Kurdish-led forces.
[Published here on February 12, 2019]
They were born in a “state” that no longer exists, most to fathers who are dead and mothers whose countries don’t want them back. These are the children pouring out of Baghouz.
[Published here on February 11, 2019]
Two French women who fled the Islamic State group’s last pocket in Syria told AFP on Monday more foreigners were trapped inside, barred from leaving by Iraqi jihadists.
[Published here February 11, 2019]
A Canadian jihadist detained in Syria told AFP on Sunday he has been “hung out to dry” by the Islamic State group like other foreign fighters and appealed to his government for help.
[Published here February 8, 2019]
They survived the Islamic State group’s crumbling “caliphate” by a thread, but skeletal babies streaming into this displacement camp in northeastern Syria now face a race against malnutrition.