Usama (left) and Zaid (right) stand proudly in front of Zaid's newly renovated shop in east Mosul.
“Everywhere we go, everywhere we flee, everywhere we stay...we still feel like we are strangers. We are not in our home—the place that we loved and lived.”
We pick up Usama early in the morning, and he spends the day guiding us through east Mosul. The city is divided in half by the Tigris river, and while Iraqi forces are still actively fighting to defeat ISIS in west Mosul, the east side of the city was liberated in January and rebuilding is already underway.