Residents of Al Qayyarah, a town in the Nineveh province south of Mosul, are slowly returning to their normal lives after years of Isis control. Despite the black smoke clouds hanging overhead, shops and markets are open for busisness, local buses and taxis are running and children are playing on the street. As Isis troops have fled the advancement of Iraqi forces from villages in the Nineveh area, they have been setting oil wells ablaze to cover themselves from air assaults and to further terrorise local people before they retreat from towns and villages. More than 60 homes in the town were destroyed at the end of August when militants reportedly rigged wellheads with improvised explosive devices before using snipers to shoot at them until they exploded, throwing oil out to the surrounding areas. The raging fires are still ablaze two months on. An Oxfam spokeswoman who has been working regularly in Al Qayarrah told The Independent that the smoke is now many people's “number one concern” as the health of the children and the elderly drastically deteriorates.
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