Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper
Child beggars fill Mosul streets a year on from IS
AFP, Mosul :
Every day little Mohammed Salem roams the streets of Mosul, left with no choice but to hawk tissues after his father was killed by jihadists who overran Iraq's second city.
A year on from Iraqi forces announcing the "liberation" of Mosul from the Islamic State group, the scars of the bloody nine-month offensive to oust the militants are still visible in the city.
After losing parents either in the battle or during IS's brutal three year occupation of Mosul, dozens of children have turned to street peddling or begging to survive.
"I sell tissues... I go out every day from seven in the morning to 10 at night," 12-year-old Salem tells AFP, wiping sweat from his face as the sun beats down on the Nabi Younis junction in eastern Mosul.
His mother's only child, Salem hopes to scratch out a living for the two of them. His father was killed by jihadists before the push to retake Mosul began, leaving the family without a breadwinner. According to the group Orphan's Joy in Nineveh, encompassing Mosul and the wider province, there is no official data on the number of children who have lost their parents. But the group's research has pointed to the "presence of 6,200 orphans in Nineveh, of which 3,283 whose parents were killed in the latest events in Mosul", the organisation's head, Kedar Mohammed, told AFP.