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The BBC's Barbara Plett
reports on life in Iraq 10 years after the war
 real 56k

Monday, 15 January, 2001, 17:17 GMT
Gulf War: Iraq's legacy of pain
Tornado, during the Gulf War
Southern Iraq is still patrolled by US and UK warplanes
By Barbara Plett in Basra

The Gulf War ended 10 years ago, but memories are still strong in Iraq, especially in the south of the country.

That is where the so-called Road of Death runs, where Iraqis retreating from Kuwait were famously bombed by allied forces.


His face was full of blood, and his eyes full of blood

Iqbal Fartous, mother
It is also one of the air exclusion zones, set up by the US and UK to protect minorities from government repression, but where patrolling warplanes have killed civilians in missile strikes.

The charred tanks and vehicles have been cleared from the road to Basra, evidence of a dark day in the dying hours of the Gulf War.

Thousands of Iraqi civilians and soldiers fleeing Kuwait were trapped here, bombed by the US air force for 40 hours. Not many survived.

During the attack, Sheikh Abdullah Nassir fearfully watched the skies from his tent nearby. He tells me that missiles hit 15 tents, killing the people inside.

Daily patrols

At the end of the road is the town of Basra, where Dr Jawad al Ali does his daily rounds at the hospital.

Scene of air raid on Iraq
Iraqis are still dealing with the aftermath of the war
He has seen a lot of pain over the past decade, especially a dramatic increase in cancer that may be linked to weapons tipped with depleted uranium. But he says the attack on retreating Iraqis has also left a deep psychological impact.

"I think the next generation also will remember this incident and I think they will be angry about the allied forces, and the people of America and the UK," he says.

Air raid sirens are an everyday reminder that Western warplanes are still patrolling the area.

When Iqbal Fartous hears the siren from her kitchen, it reminds her of the day two years ago when a bomb dropped near her house.

She ran out, frantically looking for two of her sons. She found one dead, and the other badly wounded, she tells me.

bridge
Bombed bridges are still not repaired because of sanctions
"Then I saw them, both of them are lying on the floor, and the small one, Mustafa, woke up and said 'Mama Mama', his face full of blood, and his eyes full of blood," she said.

Such stories are common in Basra. It has been in the line of fire for a long time.

Many Iraqi officers point accusingly across the water at Iran, with which Iraq fought an eight-year war. And before the city could repair the damage it was caught up in the Gulf conflict.

The people of Basra do not need war statues or other physical reminders of Desert Storm.

It has left its mark in other ways - sanctions, ongoing air strikes, an increase in illness that may be related to toxic weapons.

In many ways it is a conflict that still is not over.

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