What it is like living with ISIS in your backyard

Twelve months ago this week, Iraq's second city Mosul, fell to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The assault caught the government in Baghdad completely off guard and within hours the predominately Shia-led army which controlled Mosul, abandoned their posts and fled the city. Hundreds of thousands of civilians also began leaving, as the so-called Islamic State poured into the city. Those left behind are now living under a brutal occupation and Mosul remains closed off to the outside world.

Now, the BBC has obtained secretly filmed footage of what life is like under the IS domination. At great personal risk, residents from inside the city managed to smuggle the material out.

The footage, to be aired at length this weekend in the documentary Our World: Mosul - Living with Islamic State, paints a grim picture and shows that those who remain live in fear. They are powerless and have little choice but to adhere to their new rulers' strict interpretation of the Islamic law. Within days of arriving, the IS fighters quickly made their presence visible and through intimidation and violence, managed to establish psychological control over the population.

As they swept through the city, the victorious IS fighters also began their very sophisticated campaign on social media using carefully edited videos. Propaganda material of their military achievements and ideology have flooded Mosul's marketplaces. They have managed to control much of the communication between Mosul and the outside world, establishing "public information points" to get their message out to the local population.

Soon after the takeover the reality of what life would be like under the IS became clear. We have been told that lashings and stonings, for those who disobey, have become commonplace. In some instances public beheadings have taken place.

The deprivations imposed on the people soon extended to all basic services and the local population are now often without fresh water or electricity. Fuel is also in short supply.

The restrictions on women are particularly severe. They must cover up at all times, from head to toe, including wearing gloves and cannot leave the house without a male relative. There are regular checkpoints and surprise raids on restaurants to check if the dress-code imposed is being adhered to. One woman told us "I don't mind wearing the niqab, but the way they enforce it is really harsh and since they came here, it now costs five times as much to buy". Romantic relationships outside of marriage are punishable by death and many families with daughters say they fear that they'll be forcibly married to the ISIS fighters.

Many schools have been closed and the only ones that remain open are those run by the IS. The normal curriculum has been abolished. Drawing, crayons, coloured pencils and music have all been banned. All that is taught, is the IS ideology. This is the testimony of a young man whose 12-year-old brother's school was taken over by the IS.

"I came home one day and saw him drawing the Islamic State's flag and humming one of their most famous chants. I went crazy, and I began shouting and yelling at him. We immediately removed him from school, we prefer he has no education at all than the indoctrination ISIS is trying to spread. I've come to the conclusion their goal is to plant the seeds of violence, hate and sectarianism in children's minds."

Every aspect of life in Mosul has been impacted. The fabric of this society, which was once a mosaic of diverse cultures, religions and communities with Shia, Sunni, Christians and Jews living side by side, is now destroyed. Shrines, churches and mosques have been reduced to rubble. It's a process that the IS are threatening to replicate across the Middle East.

With the Islamic State's stranglehold on the city, the fear for many Iraqis is that when the moment comes to try to take Mosul back, it will be a bloody battle, fought street by street, house by house.

Our World: Mosul - Living with Islamic State will be broadcast this weekend on June 13 at 10am and 11pm on BBC World News.

Source http://www.dailyo.in/politics/bbc-yalda-hakim-isis-mosul-iraq-our-world-mosul-living-with-islamic-state-terrorism-baghdadi/story/1/4316.html


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