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Jan Grarup/Jan Grarup
Foto: Jan Grarup/Jan Grarup

Jan Grarup: »When you see children with a white flag walking among shells and snipers, you understand how violent this war is«

Listen to prizewinning Danish photographer Jan Grarup telling the story behind some of the most compelling photographs from his three trips to Mosul.

»I have covered war zones for more than 20 years – and Mosul is one of the most brutal places I have experienced«.

»You don’t have to be in the area for long before you understand how terrible it is to be in the city during the bombardments that Mosul has seen. It effects all of your senses; and it is a mystery to me how the children, in particular, have managed to survive«.

Jan Grarup has collected some of his most riveting photographs from the besieged city in the video series below. Here he tells the story of the individual photographs, and what it is like to be in Mosul.

Warning: Some of the images contain graphic content.

Since the offensive against IS in Mosul began in October, Jan Grarup has travelled to the city three times. First in November and then in the areas around Mosul where he spent Christmas Eve. Finally, at the beginning of February, he returned to Mosul, which has been the Islamic State stronghold since June 2014.

When he recalls the conditions for the hundreds of thousands of people in the war zone, he returns again and again to the situation for the smallest members of the tormented population.

»I have seen children walk down a road with a white flag in their hand, while shells and sniper fire shower down upon them as they try to get their families to safety. It is these sort of incidents that make you understand just how violent this war is«.

»At the same time, children try to adapt to the situation. I often think how astounding it is. While battles are raging around them, you can still see the children in the streets – beginning to play….«.