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Photos Capture A Desolate Mosul As Offensive Drags On

18/11/2016 3:49 AM AEDT | Updated 18/11/2016 7:53 AM AEDT
Chris McGrath via Getty Images
MOSUL, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 13: (EDITORS NOTE: Image shot in black and white using a panoramic app on an iPhone 6.) A building is seen destroyed on a road leading to Mosul on November 13, 2016 in Mosul, Iraq. ISIL took control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city in June of 2014. For the past two years they have occupied the city. On the 17th of October 2016. Iraqi forces began the Mosul offensive to take back the city. The offensive was a joint effort by Iraqi Government forces, the Peshmerga, local tribal militias and air support from the US and UK military. Despite early progress the offensive has slowed in the past week as Iraqi forces encountered heavy resistance from ISIL fighters entrenched inside the city. The use of an extensive tunnel system under the city built by ISIL over the past two years, booby traps, snipers and roads riddled with IED's has slowed the advance of troops on the ground. As the offensive enters its fourth week, fears of a humanitarian crisis grow as up to 1 million civilians are believed to be trapped inside the city. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The U.S.-led offensive to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State entered its second month on Thursday. 

Various forces have penetrated areas on the outskirts on the city in the past few weeks but are still facing resistance from ISIS fighters, who have controlled Mosul for two years.

The capture of Mosul has destroyed a once-vibrant city, and the offensive has only compounded the desecration. ISIS reportedly executed more than 200 people recently and has used tens of thousands of people as human shields against advancing Iraqi forces, the United Nations said.

Photographer Chris McGrath captured snapshots of the city using the panoramic feature on an iPhone 6. The black-and-white images reflect the tragic toll war takes on landscapes. Although 1 million people are still believed to be trapped inside the city, the photos reflect the desolation and emptiness that are a product of countless airstrikes.

  • Chris McGrath via Getty Images
    A Peshmerga soldier checks passports at a checkpoint on a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 6, 2016, in Debaga, Iraq.
  • Chris McGrath via Getty Images
    An image of the Virgin Mary is seen placed at a destroyed church in the newly liberated town of Bartella on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    Peshmerga fighters buy snacks from a makeshift store at a checkpoint on the road to Mosul on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    Soldiers are seen at a checkpoint on a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    Blast walls protect a Peshmerga checkpoint on a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    Faces of characters from a biblical scene painted on the side of a church have been defaced by Islamic State militants during their occupation of the predominantly Christian village of Bartella, which was recently retaken by Iraqi forces on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    This deep trench is designed to stop suicide vehicles from attacking a checkpoint next to a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 7, 2016, in Bartella, Iraq.
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    An Assyrian soldier from the Nineveh Protection Unit walks past a destroyed ISIS sign in the middle of the road on Nov. 8, 2016, in Qaraqosh, Iraq.
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    A destroyed vehicle on a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 9, 2016, in Al Qayyarah, Iraq.
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    People wait on the roadside to be let through a Peshmerga checkpoint on Nov. 10, 2016, in Al Qayyarah, Iraq.
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    A rooftop outpost is seen under smoke filled skies from burning oil wells set on fire by fleeing ISIS members on Nov. 10, 2016, in Al Qayyarah, Iraq.
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    Mortars taken from ISIS stockpiles by the Iraqi army are displayed at the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division base on Nov. 13, 2016, in Qaraqosh, Iraq.
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    A general view of the burnt landscape scorched by airstrikes and covered in ash and oil from burning oil wells set on fire by fleeing ISIS members on Nov. 10, 2016 in Al Qayyarah, Iraq.
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    A damaged cross at the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division base on Nov. 13, 2016, in Qaraqosh, Iraq.
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    A destroyed building on a road leading to Mosul on Nov. 13, 2016, in Mosul, Iraq.
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    A machine used to dig ISIS tunnels is seen at the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division base on Nov. 13, 2016, in Qaraqosh, Iraq.
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    A destroyed vehicle is seen on a road leading to Mosul on November 14, 2016 in Ba'ashiqah, Iraq. 
  • Chris McGrath via Getty Images
    Abandoned cars are seen in a field on the side of a road leading to Mosul on November 15, 2016 in Mosul, Iraq. 
  • Chris McGrath via Getty Images
    Humvees from the Iraqi Army Armoured Ninth Division are seen on a desert road leading to Mosul on November 15, 2016 in Mosul, Iraq. 
  • Chris McGrath via Getty Images
    A man is seen walking on a destroyed street leading to Mosul on November 15, 2016 in Mosul, Iraq. 

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