Step inside an ISIS prison in the terror group’s shrinking Iraqi stronghold

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An Iraqi soldier inside an office of the prison.
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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

US-backed forces in Iraq are on the brink of taking back Mosul from ISIS.

The terror group’s remaining militants in the city have sealed off the Grand al-Nuri Mosque – where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in July 2014 – and are making their last stand.

The rest of the city has been liberated, giving journalists and US-backed forces a glimpse into what life was like under the Islamic State’s rule.

One photographer recently visited an ISIS prison in the western part of the city, which had been built in an ordinary home to camouflage it among other houses. This is what he saw:


This is the outside of the prison, where soldiers from the Iraqi Army’s 9th Armored Division stand guard.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Despite what it looks like outside, the prison had all the same characteristics of a state-run facility.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Prisoners would have their possessions and documents taken away when they arrived and given back if released.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Here are some articles of clothing left behind by ISIS fighters.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Another shot of the ISIS office.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Some old food left on a kitchen table inside the compound.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

A picture of a girl seen on a table in one of the offices.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Here are materials ISIS fighters used to fashion homemade bombs.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

This is one of the completed homemade bombs being held by an Iraqi soldier.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

ISIS fighters used these screens to monitor the prisoners.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

This steel gate sealed off the part of the compound where the cells were.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

This is one of the cameras inside the cells that was linked to the guards’ monitors. “This is to keep the prisoners subdued,” an Iraqi military officer said.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Iraqi soldiers and Yazidis, a religious community that ISIS considered to be devil-worshippers, were kept in this cell.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Here is the inside of one of the men’s cells, with the shadow of an Iraqi soldier opening the gate against the wall.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Here is one of the women’s cells.

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

This is another men’s cell. “Here they kept ‘violators'” of their laws, an Iraqi officer said. “But they are the real violators.”

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Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters