MOSUL, Iraq — The streets of Mosul’s Old City are littered with bodies, tangled between shattered stones and remnants of the lives they left behind.
In the baking summer heat, exhausted rescue crews are now sifting through the debris of the toughest battle against the Islamic State in what became its final redoubt in the city.
As Iraqi ground troops, U.S.-led coalition jets and Islamic State militants pulverized the Old City’s winding maze of streets, thousands of civilians were caught in the crossfire.
But the area is now deserted, its inhabitants evacuated to houses, camps or prison cells across the province in recent months.
A week after Iraqi officials declared victory in Mosul, all that remains in the Old City is rubble and unknown hundreds of bodies.