“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
Ivor Prickett’s book End of the Caliphate is the result of months spent on the ground in Iraq and Syria between 2016 and 2018 photographing the battle to defeat ISIS. Working exclusively for the New York Times, Prickett was often embedded with Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces as he documented both the fighting and its toll on the civilian population and urban landscape. The battle to defeat ISIS in the region lasted years, resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and ruined vast tracts of cities such as Mosul and Raqqa. Involving some of most brutal urban combat since World War II, the fall of Mosul was key to the downfall of the Islamic State: soon after the remains of the so-called “Caliphate” began to crumble.
Prickett focuses on the human struggles of conflict. Taken on the frontline, his pictures legitimately and compellingly record the experience of being “caught in the crossfire,” whether as a soldier or non-combatant. He furthermore captures post-war reality while attempting to reconstruct the final weeks of combat: the devastated cities including abandoned corpses of ISIS fighters, and, months later, families searching for missing loved ones, and civilians returning to reclaim their homes and lives.
Students chatted and walked through a partially repaired section of Mosul university during lunch break. The prestigious university was badly damaged in the fight to retake the city from ISIS but students began to return as soon as the city was liberated. Iraq - December 2017
Civilians who had remained in west Mosul during the battle to retake the city, lined up for an aid distribution in the Mamun neighbourhood. Iraq. March 2017
Some people fled the recently liberated Sukar neighbourhood, while others returned having crossed a destroyed bridge that connects the area to the rest of the east Mosul. Iraq. January 2017
Iraqi special forces soldiers surveyed the aftermath of an ISIS suicide car bomb that managed to reach their lines in the Andalus neighbourhood of east Mosul. Iraq. January 2017
An Iraqi special forces soldier fired on ISIS militants from a defensive position on the edge of the Rifai neighbourhood of west Mosul. Iraq. May 2017
An unidentified young boy who was carried out of the last ISIS controlled area in the Old City, by a man suspected of being a militant, was cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers. Iraq. July 2017
25-year-old Mohammed Sheko fed his SDF comrade, 18-year-old Salah Al Raqawi, at a hospital for injured fighters in Kurdish controlled Syria. The men were both injured in the previous week while fighting ISIS in Raqqa. Syria. Oct 2017
A group of volunteers worked to collect unclaimed bodies, most of them suspected of being those of ISIS members, from the ruins of the Old City district where the militants made their last stand. Iraq. February 2018
Eissa al-Ali and his family returned home to their heavily destroyed neighbourhood in Raqqa after years of being displaced. The battle to liberate the city from ISIS destroyed 80% of building and likely killed thousands of civilians. Syria. June 2018
Nadhira Rasoul looked on as Iraqi Civil Defence workers dug out the bodies of her sister and niece from her house in the Old City of Mosul, where they were killed by an airstrike in June 2017. Iraq. September 2017