Diego Ibarra Sanchez

Photographer; Educator; Video journalist
   
Dispatches from Mosul
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Nationality: Spanish
Biography: www.diegoibarra.com Diego Ibarra Sánchez is a documentary photographer, filmmaker , and educator, based in Lebanon, who specializes in in-depth long-form visual stories.   He has been contributing to THE NEW YORK TIMES since 2012,... MORE
Public Story
Dispatches from Mosul
Copyright Diego Ibarra 2022
Updated Apr 2020
Topics Photography
Mohammed looks out of the dirty back window of the Civil Defense´s ambulance.  He holds firmly the gate waiting to get outside in order to start his quest. As most of the Mosul´s citizens, he wants to take back the dead bodies of his relatives. He did not have the chance to carry with him. He run away before an airstrike hits his neighborhood. They do deserve to rest in peace before the hell pays it price.

As end is getting closer, the battle gets more violent and the access more complicate it. The sounds of the mortars and bombs echo a path of destruction. Watch your steps. Thousands of invisible bobby tramps are waiting for them… A river of civilians fleeing from the ashes and devastation evokes the last moments of the terror´s caliphate….  There are dead bodies of ISI fighters in each corner as thousands of personals belongings left behind are covered by dust and destruction.  Traumatized and confused faces, skinnies and naked bodies, survivors of the famine, isolation and hate…  another suicide bomber: another path of death bodies lying on the rumbles…  almost 50 degrees. Air seems to smelt hope and life. No time for water of aid… Prove first yourself you are not part of ISIS….  Then “feel free to embrace the so long wait called freedom inside a refugee camp or an isolated cell”…

Fear, confusion, destruction… A broken ISIS watch founded in a body seems to evoke the long wait end of the operation started on October 17th…   Its almost there, but nightmare is not finish yet. The city is completely devastated and wounds maybe will never heal.  Hundreds of prisoners still wait to be interrogated, thousands remain displaced: The war is not finish with the last bullet, or the empty bullet shell, or when the flag is raised. The iceberg of the battle rumbles and extends blurred the horizon.

It took just days to take Mosul in June 2014 but more than 8 months to be retaken by Iraqi forces backed by militias and US-led coalitions. Sectarian tension has been increased while war has left Mosul in ruins and Iraq faces one of the most important humanitarian crises among more than 1 million civilians displaced.  The ghost of a new civil war is knocking the doors while the spotlight points Raqqa as the next Media meeting point… Could Iraq be forgotten soon?  The open wounds of the war write with blood the future of millions that remains blur.

In Mosul, the war is never over, even when the shooting stops
As the battle for Mosul nears its end, the city is devastated and its wounds may never heal. Photojournalist Diego Ibarra Sánchez shares a look through his lens.
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