Freed from Mosul, Iraqi brothers carry scars of Islamic State rule

December 15, 2016 | By | Reply More

His right arm strapped with a tourniquet and numbed by anaesthetic, Azad Hassan sat before the crowd waiting for Islamic State militants to chop off his hand as a punishment.

islamic stateFirst, he had watch them do the same to his brother.

Freed from Islamic State rule in Mosul by Iraqi forces who are fighting to recapture the city, the Hassan family bear more scars than most from two years under the jihadists’ self-declared caliphate.

The family tragedy parallels Mosul’s own recent history, from its storming by Islamic State in 2014, and the imposition of the group’s ultra-hardline rule in its de facto capital, to the Iraqi military campaign to retake it which has led to ferocious fighting in eastern districts.

A dispute over flour deliveries brought the two brothers before an Islamic State court more than a year ago. Militants had already taken another brother a few months before – a document given to the family says he was shot suspected of working with the Iraqi army, but they never saw his body.

A younger brother has joined the Sunni militia brigades, one of the forces fighting in support of the army around Mosul.

On a small USB stick, Azad, 21, carries a copy of the Islamic State video made of his and his brother Mohamed’s public amputations, hoping someday for some form of justice.

“As long as I live I won’t forget that moment they cut off my brother’s hand,” Azad said. “Then they tied down my hand. They had to hit it twice to cut it off. I wanted the ground to open up.”

Their father Hussein lies in a small bed in the family’s farm in the village of Al-Dhibaniyah outside Mosul, his legs seeping blood through bandages over wounds from an explosion after he returned to their former home in a recaptured but still fragile area in Mosul.

“They cut the hands of two of my sons, and my third son they took him – Daesh hurt my family badly,” said Hussein, whose wife is Kurdish, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. “We are all Iraqi, all the same people. I don’t know why they did this to us.”

CORPSES CRUCIFIED

Iraqi forces, engaged in a nine-week-old U.S.-backed campaign to crush Islamic State in its last urban bastion in the country, have retaken about a quarter of Mosul, but their advance has been slow and punishing.

As they slowly gain ground, refugees fleeing the city and those living inside recall a brutal life under Islamic State, whose religious police would patrol and enforce their laws.

Islamic State also systematically killed, captured and enslaved thousands from the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq region around Mosul, regarded by Sunni militants as devil-worshippers, and targeted Christian towns for desecration and Shi’ites who they deem apostate.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: Arab uprising

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