Iraqi families terrorized by ISIS struggle to rebuild as threat of resurgence looms

The Moussa family, formerly of Baghdad, was once taken captive by the caliphate. Two sisters in Mosul injured when they were used as human shields are still recovering. Their mother hopes for peace.
8:57 | 04/08/21

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Transcript for Iraqi families terrorized by ISIS struggle to rebuild as threat of resurgence looms
Reporter: For the Musa family, home is now a painful memory. They fled Baghdad almost 20 years ago to escape the war. Coming here to qaraqosh in the north. It was supposed to be a safe haven, but the war found them again. ISIS occupied the city and burned their home. I mean, the walls are still absolutely coated. And what's left of it, from the fire here, everything is gone. What does it feel like to be back in your home, to see what ISIS did? Reporter: It's been four years since Iraqi forces retook this predominantly Christian city. It had been under ISIS control since 2014. For now, the militants are gone. But the pain and the scars run deep. They're just one family among thousands struggling to rebuild their lives in a country that remains incredibly fragile. Iraqis are still fighting and protesting against foreign interference, corruption, and terror. An oil-rich nation trying to stand on its own two feet, working for economic and political stability while still reeling from the aftermath of decades of war. And that makes the struggle for Fareed Moussa, his wife and their two children, harder. 2014, they were all taken active by ISIS. He was separated from his family, who was kept inside this small house, used as a prison by the militants. Kneeling down, he showed us how he was held and beaten. How long were you kept like this? Reporter: He says he repeatedly begged the guards to let him check on his wife and daughter who were being held in a different house just up the street. Mariana, who was just 12 at the time, tells us how the leader of ISIS in the city wanted to take her as a sex slave, or so-called ISIS bride, as happened to so many other girls and women. Her mother pleading with them repeatedly not to take her daughter. After many attempts, the family eventually escaped. Finally safe, but their lives changed forever. There's no therapy for the family, no support or care. And the scale of need here is overwhelming. The family may be physically free, but the nightmare of what happened to them is never-ending. And it's not just the terror of the past that scares them, it's the fear that it could return any time. Both America and Iraq declared victory over the islamic state. But today, there are thought to be between 8,000 and 16,000 fighters still active here and in Syria. The caliphate may be gone, but the U.S. Military and expert analysts are now warning, ISIS today has the makings of a growing and dangerous insurgency. If you look, you can see dozens of military vehicles on daily operations against ISIS. And every day, Iraqi government forces are still out battling the militants. We caught up with one shia militia group heading across the desert, hunting down the extremists with more than 100 men. Their commander telling us that just today, they found bombs planted by ISIS. Reporter: These videos, filled by the fighters, show just some of the battles they've had with the terror group since victory against ISIS was declared. Are you not tired of this battle? Reporter: The black scourge of ISIS has left a stain that lingers throughout parts of Iraq. Family after family sharing similar stories of lives shattered and the difficulties of rebuilding. One story above all stands out. The tale of a little girl called Malak and her family who live in what used to be the it's case capital in Iraq, mosul. By first met her in 2017 during the war, she was just 6 years old. She and her big sister delau and the family were used by ISIS as human shields, forced to run directly into the line of fire. Their father was killed. Both girls horrifically injured. Malak's eye was damaged, impairing her vision. Scars from her bullet wounds visible. You can see three clear, distinct scars there. It looks like the bullets perhaps went through her. It's an absolute miracle that Malak is alive. And her name in English means "Angel." Despite the trauma, body girls remained hopeful for the future. Dalau told us she dreamed of becoming a teacher. Today we return to mosul to find out what became of these two young girls. It's the first time we've seen them in four or five years. Hello! Hello! Hello? Malak is now 10, quieter and shy, but still strong. In spite of the fact that she's now lost all sight in her wounded eye. Her older sister, dalau, now a young woman, 19 and married. But still suffering from the wounds she endured four years ago. How is the hand feeling? Do you still get pain? Reporter: And their mother has to struggle every day to be both mother and father to her children. Now ISIS is gone but what's the atmosphere like in mosul? She tells me, things are better since the last time we saw them, but her daughters still feel the loss of their father every single day. ISIS robbed them of the people they love, and their dreams for the future. Dala unfortunately, last time we saw you, you wanted to be a teacher, you were telling me? Her sister, Malak, has been able to attend school, but their mother is concerned about her daughter's health. Today Malak is going for a checkup at the local hospital. The health care system has been decimated by the war. The doctors tell us they have some of the expertise, but almost none of the equipment. We don't have plastic surgeons, we don't have eye surgeons -- Reporter: Malak needs to travel elsewhere for care. She needs reconstructive surgery and specialist eye care to see if her sight can be restored. But of course, that requires money the family doesn't have. The family still remains hopeful that both girls will be able to get surgery and build better lives for themselves. Dalau now dreams of having a healthy child. As for Malak? Are you going to be a doctor, scientist, engineer? She whispers to her sister that she wants to be a doctor. Doctor, I can see that. Dr. Malak. So many Iraqis have lost so much. Their health. Their homes. Their childhoods. They're owed a great deal, yet many only ask for one thing. Our thanks to Ian.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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