An image captured by our satellite DEIMOS-1 shows that the oil wells ISIS set on fire last summer in the Qayyarah area continue burning and spewing out toxic fumes and pollutants into the atmosphere. These fires forced the evacuation of local families and still present a great threat to both the environment and the health of residents in areas around and inside Mosul.

A United Nations report on environmental and health risks in the Mosul area published last November said that “The burning oil wells, the Al-Mishraq facility fire and other conflict related hazards are impacting the health of the affected population in the short term – where hundreds of people were treated for exposure to chemicals, and millions are exposed to soot and gases from the burning oil wells. The events are occurring in an already environmentally degraded region, threatened by substantial environmental legacy risk from previous conflicts, coupled with serious desertification and land degradation primarily caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.”

Iraqi civil defense forces have been battling the Qayyarah fires and, while several of them have now been extinguished, others continue to burn.