Akeel Khreef arrives at the Chubayish marshes near Nassiriya.

All is not well, local resident and environmental activist Assad Al Jasim tells him, as he drives him deeper towards the river bank. “We have droughts, lack of water, and severe pollution,” he says, “many people are migrating.”

At the banks of the marshes, he encounters buffalo herds walking along empty sand roads. The buildings are sparse, and mostly look like small storage houses for farmers.

Khreef finds a small wooden boat, shaped like the ancient reed boats but which is today made of wood with a small engine attached. He travels deep into the marshland, where the road starts to disappear, replaced by islands of reeds that form little corridors in the water.

The entrance of the Marshes from the downtown side The entrance of the Marshes from the Euphrates river side Centre of Hammar Marsh in Chibayish