There is plenty of speculation about how hundreds of non-combatants were killed in Mosul, all apparently by accident. US and Iraqi forces have admitted partial culpability. But there are other causative factors at work.
Mosul locals, some of whom have escaped the extremists and some who are still under their control, describe the Islamic State group’s desperate tactics. They will fight to the death, trapped locals warn.
Many Iraqis prefer tribal justice, meted out by community elders, to going to the authorities. But increasingly in Basra, a fear of tribal justice is just preventing teachers, doctors and retailers from doing their jobs.
While Iraq’s pro-government forces battle on in Mosul, extremists are heading back to other provinces. Locals say the number of attacks keep rising - and that something needs to be done before it is too late.
Abu Maad’s family is no longer living in extremist-held territory. But the story of how they, like so many other civilians, found themselves trapped between fighting forces, is a tragic one. As told to NIQASH.