Iraq celebrates third anniversary of ISIS defeat
This week marks the three-year anniversary since Iraq declared ISIS militarily defeated in the country and that all territories previously held by ISIS were liberated. These territories were captured in 2014 when ISIS swept across the territory, seizing Mosul as its capitol.
Mosul is the administrative centre for the Nineveh Governorate, which historically has the country’s highest amount of religious diversity. ISIS subsequently conducted a genocide targeting Christians and Yezidis
The Islamic extremist group have not regrouped as many feared. However, attacks continue, and there is concern that the pandemic may have afforded them an opportunity to re-organise their forces.
Many of their victims remain concerned about the civilian acceptance of ISIS during the years of genocide. This lack of community trust makes it hard for victims to live a normal life in the region.
The defeat of ISIS also came at the cost of strengthening Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) militias, who are repeatedly accused of human rights violations by many international bodies. These militias have also forced demographic change.
For example, the city of Bartella used to be a Christian town before ISIS. Today, it is controlled by the militia and predominantly home to the Shabak, who are Shia Muslim.