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Oil fields still burn near Iraqi town of Qayyara

Reporter: Michal Bardavid 丨 CCTV.com

09-13-2016 10:29 BJT

When ISIL loses territory, the group always leaves its mark. In many cases, improvised explosive devices or mines are left behind. The scene is different in the northern Iraqi city of Qayyara.

Heavy smoke rises from oil wells, sabotaged by the Islamic State (IS) group as they were leaving Qayyarah Town, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yaser Jawad)

Heavy smoke rises from oil wells, sabotaged by the Islamic State (IS) group as they were leaving Qayyarah Town, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yaser Jawad)

From the sky, the city of Qayyara in Iraq appears to be on fire. Black smoke has been filling the air for nearly one month-- A departing gift from the terrorist group, ISIL as they set oil wells on fire before retreating from the city.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi Oil Ministry reported that fires at six oil wells have been extinguished but oil remains everywhere and on the streets children are playing it.

Yet, parents - aware of the risks, are furious at the situation. They explain even taking showers doesn't help as they come out of the water still covered in oil. For them, it's an ongoing catastrophe.

"This is a disaster for the atmosphere, for humans, for trees, fruits卆 disaster for animals really a disaster to everything. It causes heart disease, difficulties in breathing, allergies there is no treatment for humans. Most of the trees and fruits have died, a lot of birds and animals also died because of this smoke," said Qayyara resident. 

Heavy smoke rises from oil wells, sabotaged by the Islamic State (IS) group as they were leaving Qayyarah Town, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yaser Jawad)

Heavy smoke rises from oil wells, sabotaged by the Islamic State (IS) group as they were leaving Qayyarah Town, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Yaser Jawad)

Oil is known to be one of ISIL's main sources of financial income. The terrorist organization has been losing ground in Iraq to Peshmergas and Iraqi forces as well as in Syria. Many believe the group is becoming weaker as they lose significant territory.

"Losing Qayyara was like losing its soul for ISIL as the group lost a lot of oil here. Almost half of their oil was from Qayyara and now it's finished," said Iraqi militia fighter.

The liberation of Qayyara brings the U.S.-led coalition and its allies one step closer to freeing the city of Mosul - still in control of ISIL. In the meantime, civilians in Qayyara are suffering due to the consequences of ISIL's aftermath as they inhale hazardous smoke on a daily basis. 

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