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Photos of All the Things You Leave Behind When Fleeing ISIS

We spoke to some of the internally displaced people at Erbil's massive flea market in Iraq, about the items they needed after fleeing Mosul.

by Ahmed Twaij
12 November 2016, 7:00am

Erbil flea market in Iraq (All photos by Ahmed Twaij)

There aren't that many safe havens left in Iraq. Erbil, one of a few, has seen a massive influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) over the last two years, following the alarming and brutal spread of ISIS forces across Iraq.

Erbil's famous flea market, Souk Al-Lenga, sells second-hand items from across Kurdistan and is a common place for both tourists and locals to pick up a few bits and pieces. Over the last two years, the market has developed to cater for the needs of IDPs who've fled their homes, escaping the destructive path of war with often nothing but the clothes on their backs.

With winter on its way, these IDPs search for a cheap way to renew their wardrobes and stay warm. We asked a few people we met, most of whom couldn't show their faces for the sake of their families' safety, to show us the items they needed most. Here's what they had to say.

Mohammed Moneeb, 38, from Mosul

"I've been looking for winter clothes. This is a dress for my daughter, just seeing her happy makes me so excited. We need clothes, having left with nothing. We've left our homes and are now paying rent. It's difficult for us."

Barzan Hussain Mohammed, 21, an IDP from Shirqat.

"The reason I liked this jumper is because the price was suitable for me. We left everything behind when we fled. I don't have any winter clothes, I hope this will keep me warm."

Khawla Mowaffaq Ahmed, 35, a widower with four children.

"I bought this top as it's what I can afford. I've had to borrow money to buy this. Winter has come and we don't have clothes."

Mahmood Hamad Hassan, 54, an unemployed teacher and IDP from Ramadi.

"I'm actually looking for a coat for my brother. He lives with me in Erbil but he's planning on going back to Ramadi [now that it's been liberated] so this is to keep him warm on the cold journey back."

Maysa Anwar, 20, a nursing student and IDP from Salaheddin.

"This long dress is the only thing suitable for wearing in the hospital. I hope the nursing school approves otherwise I have to return it. I shop at the flea market as I can find everything here; work, home and going out clothes. And the price is good."

Qasim Manaa. 33, a former taxi driver from Salaheddin.

"This is my favourite purchase, I liked this jacket the most because my daughter picked it out. Prices are reasonable here. We left with no clothes other than what we were wearing, and we need winter clothing. The clothes here are clean and suitable for the kids."

Mahmud Jadaan, 18, who hopes to study Economics when he gets back to Fallujah later this year.

"It's a simple and pretty dress, that my sister really likes. I've come to buy clothes for my sisters; they come so often. Me? Not so much. The prices here are good and there is so much to choose from."

Zaid Saleh, 11, from Salaheddin.

"I liked this toy, I like things which are different, it keeps me happy."

"It keeps him occupied," adds Fazia Ahmed Mutlaq, his mother. "it's my favourite buy today, seeing him enjoy himself."

@twaiji

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