A Picture and its Story: The battle for Mosul: urban warfare and civilian exodus
A view of a part of western Mosul, Iraq, May 29, 2017. Alkis Konstantinidis: "It was the second day of my assignment in Mosul and we were driving to join the Iraqi Federal Police forces at their frontline positions. The closer we got to our destination, the more obvious was the impact of the constant warfare. The cityscape was apocalyptic: demolished buildings, burnt cars tipped onto their sides, twisted masses of steel. We reached the frontline on what seemed a quiet day. But even if things appear calm, you have to be on alert about your surroundings. While moving fast from position to position, taking cover behind debris, I noticed a yellow car lying destroyed in the middle of the road ahead of us. I took a few wide-angle shots, which worked best as I was able to get the perspective of the street and the sweeping scale of the destruction. Not a single element of my frame was untouched by the battle. Later that day, I tried to imagine what this street - whose name I couldn't find out as no signs were left standing - would have looked like on a "normal" day some years ago. It appeared to be a market street; people would have crossed it in a hurry, darting between traffic. The mosque in the background would have called the faithful to prayer and it would have been full of different noises: car honks, shop-owners shouting to attract customers, music playing in coffee shops full of people. These everyday sounds had now been replaced by the heavy crump of mortars, artillery, helicopters and the clatter of gun battles. And the memory of a normal day seemed so distant." REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/File photo SEARCH "MOSUL PICTURES" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.