Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

AU warns 6,000 jihadists could return to Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's accusers say #MeToo... again

Read more

THE DEBATE

Game Changer? Middle East Diplomacy after Trump's Jerusalem Move

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Niger's president warns Malian state 'could collapse'

Read more

FOCUS

USA: Voters speak out ahead of high-stakes Alabama Senate race

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Readying the eurozone for future storms: EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Russian influence, reforms, corruption: Challenges for Europe's Eastern partners

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Kidnapped and sold in Libya: Our Observer's story

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Son Little, Eminem, N.E.R.D & 'adieu' Johnny Hallyday

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2016-03-18

Ramadi, from Iraq's third city to a ghost town

After months of fighting, Iraqi forces have retaken Ramadi from the Islamic State (IS) group. But Iraq’s third city is now a ghost town, riddled with mines and booby traps left by the jihadists. The people of Ramadi have to wait before they can return home, forced to live in sprawling refugee camps on the edge of town. Our reporters met the soldiers who liberated Ramadi and followed the bomb-disposal experts as they worked to make it habitable again.

When we arrive in Ramadi by air, we are in for a shock. We certainly expected to see a damaged city, but it’s a field of ruins that we fly over. Our helicopter lands at the university, in front of a facade gutted by a coalition air strike. Crossing the town centre requires an escort, although it is deserted.

>>On France24.com: Why the Iraqi army’s win against IS group in Ramadi is ‘critical’

Iraq’s third-largest city, which had 500,000 inhabitants before the Islamic State group overran it and set up a reign of terror, is now just a field of ruins... and mines.

On foot, in the streets, the heavy silence is only broken by the noise of some distant gunfire and explosions. There are still pockets of IS group fighters in the northern suburbs of Ramadi. The rest of the city is held by Iraqi forces but an infiltration is still possible. We don’t have time to hang around and we have to film quickly. We let our drone fly for a few minutes to capture some aerial images.

Fifteen million dollars needed to clear mines

Major Mohammed has his eye on his watch because if there is a problem, he will be held responsible. He shows us the tunnels dug by the IS group fighters and the booby traps they have left in the houses. He makes us follow in his footsteps, as the area is not yet fully cleared. In this city full of booby traps, no building has been spared. Those still standing are pockmarked by bullets and shells.

The UN estimates that clearing Ramadi of mines alone will cost 15 million dollars. Bomb disposal experts are working relentlessly so that the population can return.

But the harsh reality is that the 500,000 displaced people will not return home any time soon. And it will take a long time for a semblance of normal life to return one day to the streets of Ramadi.

An exclusive report by James André, Amar Al Hameedawi and Khalil Bechir for FRANCE 24.

By James ANDRE , Amar Mohammed Sahib AL HAMEEDAWI , Khalil BECHIR

Archives

2017-12-08 Libya

Video: Trapped in Libya, migrants face torture and slavery

In the past few months, the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean has shrunk drastically on the back of new migrant policies in Libya and Italy alike. Instead,...

Read more

2017-11-30 Americas

Video: Barbuda, an island paradise wiped out by Hurricane Irma

Three months ago, life on the Caribbean island of Barbuda, in the French West Indies, morphed into nothing short of a nightmare as Hurricane Irma swept in over its shores,...

Read more

2017-11-24 Americas

Video: Is Trump slamming door on Muslims' American Dream?

Since US President Donald Trump came to power, Muslim Americans say they feel increasingly unwelcome in their own country. According to critics, Trump’s executive orders banning...

Read more

2017-11-17 Middle East

Exclusive: From Tehran to Najaf, a pilgrimage fraught with danger

It’s one of the most dangerous pilgrimages in the world. Every year, despite the deadly menace of the Islamic State group, millions of Shiites make a pilgrimage to southern Iraq,...

Read more

2017-11-09 Europe

Full circle: The second life of old clothes abroad

Our reporters investigated what happens to old clothes thrown out by Westerners. For several months, our team followed the trail of recycled clothes - from initial collection...

Read more