Mosul:Khulud yearns to be swept away by a “prince charming”, but like many young Iraqis in the former jihadist stronghold of Mosul she worries she may never marry. “I haven’t found a husband or a job -- my life consists of household chores,” says the 24-year-old university graduate, who feels increasingly trapped in her parents’ home. “My older sister, who is 37, already has four children... I still perhaps have a chance to find a husband, but my 29-year-old sister has much less” hope, Khulud adds, a sad smile marking the corners of her mouth. Before the Islamic State group (IS) made Mosul its self-proclaimed capital in mid-2014, Iraq’s second city was a bastion of traditionalism and conservatism. It was rare for women to hit their 20s before marrying or being engaged. Back in government hands since July last year, the city is still scarred by nine months of brutal combat. Reconstruction is under way, but with 21,500 homes destroyed or badly damaged, the task is overwhelming, Iraqi authorities say. And the wait for young people to seal their nuptials is getting longer and longer. Suitors are finding it increasingly hard to save enough cash to fund a dowry and a wedding, never mind set up home with a spouse. Mumen Abdallah also dreams of marriage. “I have a degree in economics, but this hasn’t helped me realise my dream,” says the 38-year-old, one of a crowd of men lounging on a cafe terrace. He still hasn’t left the family home and the little cash he earns as a taxi driver is barely enough to help with the rent, in a cramped household of seven. Manaf Khaled, a 32-year-old social worker, says a woman’s marriage prospects can depend on her employment. “Many men prefer to marry a woman who works and contributes to household expenses,” she says. Marriage a distant dream for many in Iraq’s Mosul People are ready to move on already.