Mosul had fallen to Islamic State five years ago. The US-led coalition liberated the Iraqi city in 2017, but left it largely in ruins. With the ISIS caliphate gone, are the local residents recovering, and how?
IS takes Mosul
After taking control of Fallujah and Ramadi in early June 2014, IS (also known as ISIS) fighters turned their sights on Mosul, where the Iraqi Army reportedly had just 10,000 soldiers. Crucially, the troops were short of weapons and ammunition, and their tanks had been moved to the Anbar province.
First morning under ISIS. The battle was still raging. The army did not fight. High rank commanders were the first to flee. Soldiers were left a lone with no guides or orders. pic.twitter.com/q8rYIlwlhO
— Ali Y. Al-Baroodi (@AliBaroodi) June 10, 2019
On June 4, IS rode into the city in pick-up trucks and overpowered their Iraqi opponents in mere days, seizing control of government buildings and the airport as some 500,000 civilians fled. Kurdistan had offered to send Peshmerga fighters to help, but Iraq declined, and Mosul fell.
The terrorist group gained complete control of the city of 1.8 million people by June 12, and killed the imam of the famous Grand Mosque of al-Nuri for refusing to join them. Weeks later, IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi made a rare appearance at the mosque to declare a "caliphate". The group later destroyed the famous historical building, in a huge blow to local culture.
Living in the shadow of IS
Normal life in Mosul was upended by the terrorist occupation. IS imposed extreme sharia law on the city’s residents, enforced by Hesba morality police, with flogging, stoning, and cutting off hands doled out as punishment. Citizens witnessed beheadings and militants throwing gay people to their deaths from the Chadirji Building.'
Read more: 'A cemetery for the living': Mosul, Five years after Islamic State conquest