Five year old Maryam will stay at her school forever 

July 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Wala waters the trees on Maryam's grave in Mosul (Karwan Salehi, June 2017)

Karwan Salehi

The situation was so dire in Khazra neighbourhood in east Mosul due to ongoing fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (Isis) militants that Ibrahim Ali could not take his disabled five year old daughter Maryam to a health clinic nearby as she needed medications. It was 27 days since the neighbourhood had been surrounded and there was a curfew with occasional mortars falling and Isis sniper stationed on top of tall building. Maryam had no option but to wait inside the school where her father was a a guard.

A mortar falls into the yard of the school and wounds the five year old Maryam. Her sister Wala remembers her father’s efforts to take Maryam to the clinic but there was no way he could take her.

The fighting continued for about a month earlier this year in and around Khazra and tens of civilians were killed in their houses as a result of the bombing and bombardment.

Maryam lasted two days despite her serious injuries but as her father was unable to take her to the clinic for treatment, she finally succumbed to her injuries. But even in death, the family could not take her to the cemetery due to fighting and ended up burying her in a corner of the Aisha school.

Aisha school where Maryam is buried in Mosul (Karwan Salehi, June 2017)

Maryam is one of thousands of children that were caught up in the Mosul offensive where the Iraqi army and peshmerga backed by the US led coalition have battled Isis militants for nearly nine months.  UNICEF says there are five million Iraqi children in need of emergency assistance.

“Until she died, Maryam was telling us why you are crying, there is nothing wrong with me,” recalled Wala as she sobbed.

Mahmoud Hamid a friend of Ibrahim Ali and a guard in nearby school says “when the missile hit the school, we heard screams and cries but because of the fighting and the bombardment of Isis and the army, i could not go and see the family, i went to see them after two days.”

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