As raw sewage gushed out of a crater made by an airstrike against Islamic State in Mosul, seething residents who sold their clothes to survive had a sobering message for Iraqi politicians boasting of military advances against the group.

“If life does not improve, we will not accept this and there will be a revolt against the government,” said Ihsan Abdullah. “If things don’t change Islamic State will just come back. Mosul residents will support whoever can help them.”

A former traffic policeman, he said he had not worked since Islamic State swept into the city in 2014, leaving him no choice but to sell his clothes for food.

When government forces arrived, he asked for his job back, but he was told he would first need to go to Baghdad to get clearance proving he was not a member of Islamic State. That would take too long, he said.

Iraqi forces have driven the militants out of east Mosul, and are poised to expand their major offensive into the western half of the biggest city in northern Iraq. That has brought relief after more than two years of Islamic State’s harsh rule.


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