The Cost of War
       
     
Lina, age 4
       
     
Ammar, age 8
       
     
Airstrike, West Mosul
       
     
Zeinab, age 7
       
     
Trauma Stabilization
       
     
Ambulance, West Mosul
       
     
Mosul Hospital
       
     
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Amal, age 6
       
     
All We've Known is War
       
     
Noor
       
     
Ali, age 7
       
     
The Cost of War
       
     
The Cost of War

In conflict, it is often those with the smallest voices that pay the highest price. The civilians — men, women and children — make the ultimate sacrifice. For those that perish, they become a statistic, at best. In the battle to liberate Mosul, the record keeping was so poor that many did not even become that.

In early 2017 I was in Iraq, working with medics to better understand the civilian cost of the conflict, in the hope I might add to the narrative and go beyond the headlines.

To many, war has become an abstract burden. To these children, the burden of war is all they have known. The scenes depicted in these photographs show an all too familiar horror for those caught in the midst of conflict, the loss of innocence and the end of young life. 

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An Iraqi man carries his son into Trauma Stabilization Point #2, a makeshift medical facility, following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017 in West Mosul, Iraq.

Lina, age 4
       
     
Lina, age 4

Lina is treated at a medical Trauma Stabilization Point (TSP) in West Mosul, Iraq on the night of June 12, 2017. Lina was brought to the TSP following an airstrike; she survived the attack, sustaining serious injuries to her face and torso.

Ammar, age 8
       
     
Ammar, age 8

Medics treat Ammar at a medical Trauma Stabilization Point (TSP) following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017 in West Mosul, Iraq. Inconsistent electricity sources often required medics to improvise, using headlamps or lights from cellphones in order to treat patients.

Airstrike, West Mosul
       
     
Airstrike, West Mosul

An airstrike hits near the Al Nuri mosque within the Old City of West, Mosul Iraq on June 1, 2017. Less than 3 weeks later, on June 21, 2017, the Al Nuri Mosque would be destroyed when Islamic State fighters packed the building with explosives and reduced it to a pile of rubble. The mosque, a historic landmark for the city of Mosul, is also known as the site where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a pulpit and declared a caliphate in the summer of 2014.

Zeinab, age 7
       
     
Zeinab, age 7

Zeinab, from the Zingili neighborhood of West Mosul, is treated by medics at a Trauma Stabilization Point (TSP) following an airstrike on May 31, 2017.

Trauma Stabilization
       
     
Trauma Stabilization

Medics work to stabilize Ammar, age 8. The young Moslawi boy was brought to "Trauma Stabilization Point 2" following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017 in West Mosul, Iraq.

Ambulance, West Mosul
       
     
Ambulance, West Mosul

Following an airstrike on the afternoon of May 31, 2017, Zainab, age 7, whose feet are seen in this photograph, is transported to Mosul Hospital. Her mother, grandmother and younger sibling accompany her.

Mosul Hospital
       
     
Mosul Hospital

Medics work to save the life of Zainab following an airstrike on the afternoon of May 31, 2017. Initially stabilized at a medical Trauma Stabilization Point (TSP), Zainab was transported to Mosul Hospital for further medical treatment. An hour after arriving to the hospital Zainab was pronounced dead.

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Untitled

Ali's legs were mangled during an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017. The young Moslawi died of his injuries.

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Untitled

Ali, age 7, is wrapped in preparation for burial. The young Moslawi died from blunt force trauma following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017 in West Mosul, Iraq.

Amal, age 6
       
     
Amal, age 6

Amal says goodbye to her brother, Ali, as he is prepared for burial. Ammar died from blunt force trauma following an airstrike on June 12, 2017.

All We've Known is War
       
     
All We've Known is War

Ali’s mother, Noor, grieves over the body of her son as his sister, Amal, looks on. 

On the night of June 12, 2017 an airstrike hit Ali's neighborhood in West Mosul, Iraq. The young Moslawi died from blunt force trauma and arrived at the Trauma Stabilization Point (TSP) "dead on arrival".

Noor
       
     
Noor

Ali's mother, Noor, holds her son before he is taken to be buried. The young Moslawi died from blunt force trauma following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017 in West Mosul, Iraq.

Ali, age 7
       
     
Ali, age 7

Ali's body sits outside Trauma Stabilization Point #2 in West Mosul, Iraq. The young Moslawi died from blunt force trauma following an airstrike on the night of June 12, 2017.

Reports as recent as November 2017 assert that one in five coalition airstrikes in Mosul resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that initially acknowledged by the coalition. This disparity in civilian deaths, in conjunction with consistent failures to properly investigate claims of death or to keep thorough records, makes the battle to liberate Mosul one of the least transparent wars in recent American history. (New York Times, The Uncounted, November 16, 2017)