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Photoblog: Meeting ISIS families in their desert prisons Open in fullscreen

Alessio Mamo

Photoblog: Meeting ISIS families in their desert prisons

Hijran admits her brother was in IS, but not her husband [Alessio Mamo]

Date of publication: 2 October, 2018

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Camp Shaham hides a secret: The displaced women and children here can't leave - they are accused of supporting the Islamic State group. Photos by Alessio Mamo.
It looks like any one of the dozens of camps filled with internally displaced people here in northern Iraq, but locals here call al-Shaham "the ISIS camp".

Most of the camp's residents have several family members in prison. They are displaced - but they are also detained.

These are the "ISIS families" - they are here whether their sons or husbands or fathers joined up by choice or by force, whether they were fighters or leaders, administrative employees or drivers. War criminal or cook.

And they cannot leave.

Read more about the residents of Al-Shaham camp in this special report: Awaiting Judgement - Meeting the Islamic State families held in desert camps

All photos by Alessio Mamo.

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Hundreds of people, mostly families, have been detained at al-Shaham camp, north of Saddam's home town of Tikrit [Alessio Mamo]
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Most of the males here are young boys; their fathers and brothers imprisoned for being Islamic State group fighters [Alessio Mamo]
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The tents are crowded and basic. Everything is covered in dust [Alessio Mamo]
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Hijran, born in 1994, is originally from Sadaqiyye, near Hawija. She and her children are currently detained in Shaham Camp [Alessio Mamo]
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Entertainment for the children is thin on the ground [Alessio Mamo]
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Residents have access to running water, but medicines and other essentials are in short supply [Alessio Mamo] 
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The UN and its agencies provide some food aid to the camp [Alessio Mamo]
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Many of the detainees are prevented from speaking to a lawyer, or being able to phone their family, and remain, stuck here in limbo [Alessio Mamo]
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The majority of the people in the camp are women and girls [Alessio Mamo]
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Baida, originally from Yathrib, moved to Mosul when her husband became an IS fighter in 2014. She now lives in al-Shaham with her three children [Alessio Mamo]
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Baida's children are detained along with their mother, for the crimes committed by their father [Alessio Mamo]
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In a nearby town, buildings are still scarred from the brutal four-year rule of the Islamic State group [Alessio Mamo]
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This second-hand shoe market is held at the site of an October 2016 IS attack [Alessio Mamo]
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Still lacking much of its own infrastructure following the battle to reclaim the city, Mosul's waste is trucked to the Kurdistan region for processing [Alessio Mamo]
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Many of those who are able to return to Mosul are doing so, despite the rubble that awaits them [Alessio Mamo]
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Mosul was the principal urban stronghold of the Islamic State group, and the battle to reclaim it devastated the city [Alessio Mamo]
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Life is slowly returning to Mosul, but reconstruction will cost billions of dollars and take many, many years [Alessio Mamo]

Read more about the residents of Al-Shaham camp in this special report: Awaiting Judgement - Meeting the Islamic State families held in desert camps



Alessio Mamo is a Sicilian photojournalist focused on matters of social, political and economic importance. He was a second-placed winner in the People category of the World Press Photo Awards 2018. 

Follow his work on Twitter: @AlessioMamo

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