The city of Sinjar, Iraq is in ruins, but liberated. This town was formerly home to Islamic State, known as ISIL or Daesh, for over a year and served as a strategic link between Mosul, Iraq, to the east and Raqqa, Syria, to the west.
Now the flag of Kurdistan and the Peshmerga soldiers that liberated the area fly above the town, which was declared liberated on November 13, with the aid of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, and over 7,000 Peshmerga forces on the ground. While the city appears to be ISIL-free at the moment, yet it’s not possible to say when or how ISIL might retaliate.
CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports.
Sinjar, Iraq rebuilds slowly after liberation from ISILThe city of Sinjar, Iraq is in ruins, but liberated. This town was formerly home to Islamic State, known as ISIL or Daesh, for over a year and served as a strategic link between Mosul, Iraq, to the east and Raqqa, Syria, to the west.
The city is mostly deserted, most of its buildings are in rubble and those that still stand have no windows, ceilings, or doors. The only cars passing by belong to security forces or medical teams. Nearby lies a graveyard to thousands of Yazidis that were killed when ISIL attacked the town in August of 2014.
It will be a long time before life comes back to this city that where 200,000 people once lived.
“Since the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) doesn’t have the capacity at the moment to fully reconstruct the town, international help is necessary to provide basic services to Sinjar so that the people can return,” Lieutenant General Jamal Mohammed Omer, who works as chief of staff for the Peshmerga forces, said.
Inside the walls of devastation reveal trails of ISIL explosives barrels and the infamous black ISIL flag. Forces have found tunnels and walls with punched holes, indicating that ISIL members tried to avoid surveillance by traveling through buildings.
“We were certain that we would be successful, we believed in ourselves, and we believed in the cause we were fighting for with our leaders, president and Ministry of Peshmerga,” Safar Mohammed, a Peshmerga soldier said.
“We believed in God, we didn’t do this for the salary we got, we did it to protect the dignity of people of Kurdistan.”
Though many Yazidi residents are eager to return, it will be a while before the streets will be considered safe and clear of ISIL traps.