Two years of living under ISIS and then caught in the middle of a raging battle. This is what life has been like for hundreds of thousands of civilians in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The Iraqi central government and Kurdistan Regional Government, with the support of the United States-led international coalition, began military operations in October to retake the city. 

The fighting was neighborhood by neighborhood, often street by street. Iraqi forces on the ground were backed by Iraqi and coalition aircraft. ISIS used improvised landmines  and suicide car bombers. By late January, the Iraqi forces controlled the eastern part of the city  while ISIS still held the western half.

When the fighting began, about 1.2 million civilians were in Mosul. Since then, at least 158,000  have fled to government-controlled areas. Iraqi authorities reported that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed or wounded inside Mosul since the the Iraqi government  operation began. The Iraqi forces have taken measures to protect civilians, but protecting civilians is not easy in the middle of military operations. Here are some of the accounts we heard from people in Mosul.