Residents in Mosul, Iraq are in grave danger, as mortars and bullets fired by Islamic State terrorists continue to target them. The war has rendered hospitals out of reach even during emergencies, while people are getting killed in the process of buying groceries or simply being at home.

For the families of the dead, burying the bodies of their loved ones in a proper cemetery is no longer an option. Graveyards are inaccessible as armed forces sweep across eastern Mosul. As a last resort, civilians have started to bury their dead wherever they can find space.

Abu Abdel Malik, a civilian from Zuhur district, was forced to bury his stepmother’s body under an orange tree in their garden. “We could not leave, we were surrounded. There were snipers all around and the army was advancing,” he told Reuters. The fighting in his area was so intense that rockets had destroyed his kitchen and trees. Transporting the body to the main cemetery a few kilometres away was impossible.

A local elementary school, in the meantime, is being used as a temporary burial ground in the area.