What comes to mind when you think of Baghdad? A year ago the Iraqi capital was a scene of explosions, military checkpoints and armed men roaming the streets. Baghdad has suffered numerous attacks and security problems in the past several years.
I have been reporting from here extensively since 2011, and witnessed the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who captured huge swathes of the country three years later.
Putting aside the American occupation and invasion for a moment, the last few years have been incredibly violent for the city. However, I noticed a marked difference as I arrived back on an assignment.