Mosul marks 10 years since ISIS takeover, embraces life despite the scars

Mosul marks 10 years since ISIS takeover, embraces life despite the scars

Shafaq News/ A decade after the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) swept through Mosul, the Iraqi city is slowly rising from the ashes, bearing the scars of its dark past while embracing a newfound hope for the future.

On the fateful night of June 10, 2014, ISIS forces, in a lightning-fast offensive, overwhelmed local defenses and sent Iraqi security forces fleeing, plunging the city into chaos. Panic-stricken residents scrambled for safety as the streets descended into anarchy.

"We were left alone," said Umm Ali, who lost her husband in the battles in western Mosul. "We were petrified. Neither the government nor the police were there for us."

Another citizen, Abu Ahmed, said he was at the market when the clashes erupted on June 6. "I tried to reach my residence, but the roads were blocked. I felt powerless. I wasn't able to reach my family when the clashes intensified in the western neighborhoods."

The militants swiftly seized control of key areas, transforming Mosul into their self-proclaimed caliphate's capital. For the next three years, the city endured a reign of terror under ISIS rule, marked by brutal executions, public floggings, and the suppression of basic freedoms.

"It was a terrifying night," recalled Qais al-Beykadli, a journalist from the Nineveh Plains, who witnessed the city's fall. "I tried to stay calm and observe what was happening, but the pain of that night still lingers."

Al-Beykadli, along with thousands of other residents, was forced to flee, taking with him his television archive, a testament to Mosul's pre-ISIS era. Despite the displacement and hardships of camp life, he clung to his archive, determined to preserve the city's history.

"It documents a bitter era, a dark chapter in Mosul's history," Baykadeli said. "But I exhibit it from time to time to revive those painful memories."

The liberation of Mosul came at a heavy price. In October 2016, Iraqi forces, backed by the Global Coalition, launched a massive operation to reclaim the city. The ensuing battle was fierce and protracted, leaving Mosul in ruins and claiming countless lives.

Finally, on July 10, 2017, Iraqi authorities declared Mosul fully liberated. The scars of war were deep, but people still had hope despite the devastation.

In the ten years since ISIS's grip on Mosul was broken, the city has been determined to forge a brighter future, one brick at a time. Schools are being rebuilt, roads are being repaired, and new projects are springing up across the landscape.

"Despite the wounds that are still open, the city is now witnessing great efforts for reconstruction," said Saeed, a Mosul resident.

"We feel hopeful again," added Layla, a university student. "Mosul is coming back to life after years of darkness, and we are part of this change."

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