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Mosul: Life Under ISIL, Two Years On



Mustafa Saadoon – Yalla – Baghdad


On 10 June 2014 ISIL took control of the northern city of Mosul as Iraqi security divisions withdrew from the city. Mosul residents were shocked to see armed extremists on the streets of the city instead of government security forces.

Many believe that the occupation of Mosul didn’t begin that day, but had in fact started years before, when Al-Qaeda was imposing taxes on residents, and individuals in the security forces were mistreating civilians. These are the more obvious reasons that contributed to the city falling under the complete control of the terrorist organisation.

Around two million people lived in Mosul city before it was taken by ISIL, approximately half a million of whom have left, displaced by the brutality of ISIL. Minorities from the city have been  especially vulnerable, as followers of ISIL continue a policy of kidnap and murder.


Freedoms and Education

Hours taking the city, ISIL imposed Sharia, forcing women to wear the veil, and men to wear dishdasha. No one was allowed to practice their lives in the way in which they were accustomed.

Less than a month after its occupation, ISIL abolished the faculties of Law, Science, Politics, Fine Arts, and divisions in the faculties of Education,  Literature, Administration, Management, and Economy. The excuse for this was that “they are against Islamic Sharia and aren’t useful for people”.

The extremists didn’t stop there: ISIL began training hundreds of children to use weapons and take part in the war, as well as brain washing them with extremist ideology. Statistics show that 40 children have carried out suicide attacks against Iraqi Security Forces.

Accurate statistics of human rights breaches committed by ISIL are impossible to record due to their frequency, and the fact that crimes such as execution, kidnapping, torture, flogging, severe punishments against people for practicing their basic rights, and the imposition of extremist ideology have become daily routine in the city.

Consequently, approximately half a million people have escaped to a life of displacement in the Kurdistan Region, and central and southern Iraq. Now they hope to return to their homes.


Minorities in Mosul under the rule of ISIL

Multiculturalism and diversity used to be the keystone of a city inhabited by Christians, Muslims, Mandaeans, Shabak, and Yazidis. After the arrival of ISIL hundreds of people from minorities were executed or evicted, their properties confiscated. The excuse of ISIL for this is non-compliance with the orders of sharia.

Members of ISIL wrote “Estate of the Islamic State” on the properties of Christians and anyone who didn’t submit to their extremist policies.

ISIL tried and is still trying to eliminate minorities from the city of Mosul and Iraq in general, and impose their radical laws that greatly oppose all freedoms and civilized cultures.

People escape Nineveh governorate and communities are displaced in fear of the violence used by ISIL and its mobile execution patrols on the streets, which don’t hesitate to arrest and execute whoever they view as a threat to their existence, or believe to be disobeying their twisted interpretation of Islam.


Destroying Monuments

ISIL has destroyed monuments, archeological sites and museums. Thousands of years of culture has been wiped out, by extremists using bulldozers to eradicate any trace of the staggering wealth of civilization boasted by Iraq.

Destroyed monuments include the large Assyrian statues which date back to the 19th century BC, and the winged bull gatekeeper statue at Nergal Gate. They have also attacked the ancient city of Nimrud which dates back to the 13th century BC. UNESCO condemned the action which it described as a war crime.

Artifacts and statues from Nimrud and others from Hatra [al-Hadr] city which its history dates back to Roman Era, have not been spared. The statue of Abu Tammam, the Abbasied-era Arab poet, has been turned to dust with a jack hammer.

ISIL has also blown up the Shrine of Jonah [the Shrine of Nabi Younis], and burnt thousands of books and rare manuscripts.

Despite all this, great work is being down within the city to keep some of the smaller treasures safe – the thousands of years of history in the Nineveh province will not be undone by two years of senseless violence and destruction by extremists whose goals are fear and the subjugation of civilians in areas under its control.

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