December saw a historic moment: the final town controlled by Islamic State in Iraq was retaken. As Iraq has begun to recover and rebuild, and physical signs of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, are slowly being removed, the impact and trauma of the militants' rule is etched on its residents.
In the northern city of Mosul, over 1.5 million people endured more than three years of ISIS rule – until it was retaken on July 10. Houses, roads and schools were destroyed and more a million people were forced to flee their homes during a nine month battle. Parents kept their children out of school and off the streets, women were forced to cover themselves fully – including their eyes, and many families had to survive without an income.
Today, across Iraq more than 11 million people remain in need of humanitarian support. Although, Mosul is now free of ISIS and rebuilding has begun, the effects of years spent under ISIS rule linger. In Mosul's Old City, thousands of homes lie flattened and many are still littered with explosives.