The Iraqi soldier looks out across a wasteland of rubble that crumbles steeply down to the banks of the Tigris, and contemplates the last days of savage fighting against the Islamic State group.

“We killed them all,” he says quietly. “Daesh, men, women and children. We killed everyone.”

What remains of this part of Mosul’s Old City, where IS militants made their last stand, and what lies beneath betray the horrific final days of the battle.

‘We killed them all. Daesh, men, women and children. We killed everyone’

– Iraqi soldier, Mosul”

Hundreds of corpses lie half-buried in the broken masonry and rubble that was once a bustling, historic quarter. The stench of decaying flesh, which comes fast in the 50C summer heat, overwhelms the senses.

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Feet are the most distinguishable remains; there are many poking out from the rubble.

That final killing spree has left its mark, and it is one some appear keen to cover over.

 

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