The neighbourhood of Hay al-Arabi in eastern Mosul city has the appearance of a place recently visited by apocalypse. This was one of the last areas east of the Tigris River vacated by the Islamic State organisation, before the advance of the Iraqi armed forces in late January. The river now forms the line separating the various forces of the Iraqi government from the jihadist fighters.
The signs of recent battle are everywhere in the neighbourhoods along the river, testimony to the nature of the fight that took place here. One must traverse enormous craters, now filled with water from the February rains. These are the product of the US Air Force, whose B-52s played a vital role in softening up the jihadists and destroying emplacements and arms supplies before the Iraqis moved in.