Through His Eyes

In the early summer of 2014, a massive prison breakout happens at Abu Ghraib, a prison for lifetime sentenced convicts . More than 1800 criminals escaped that day and headed into Anbar’s (biggest state in Iraq) desert; many searches for them went down.

Two months later, a new organisation’s name comes up in the news showing proof and talking about brutal assasinations, DAESH, known for media followers only, a group of serial killers if so to speak who conduct random executions in western Iraq. The exact name they called themselves in the videos they published in the social media was Daesh’s Order or Daesh’s Group.

Civilians in this area thought they were suffering exactly what they have been already suffering for years from the political instability and the growth of new political parties. Due to the nature of their organization, many didn’t know which side DAESH was on. A few months later, news show that Syria is at war with same the name, DAESH, gaining visibility in the media. After almost half of Syria fell to their hands, they moved back again to Iraq capturing Anbar completely and executing whoever they caught, including civilians and leaving the town empty. Emigrants escaped to the nearest states (Baghdad , Najaf); although the capital didn’t let any of the emigrants get inside the city in order to insure the safety of Baghdad.

At this point, DAESH started to be taken more seriously by the world’s superpowers and called themselves ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS is the English acronym for the Arabic DAESH). Syria’s battle against ISIS was short and resulted in the loss of most of their cities; this was caused by the civil war that started before the invasion.
The group was recruiting prisoners in prisons they broke into, offering them the choice to join ISIS or be killed. They claimed that many and most of them were actually volunteers. This was started to look like the truth after they published a video of a suicidal bomber who talked proudly of his future actions and who was happy in his last hours of life because he was sure he was going to face his creator with honor.

ISIS spread to Mousle, Karkook and Slah Aldeen and even to the very north of Baghdad, harvesting fear and terror with it, forcing the Iraqi army to flee and escape the battlefields and military camps, leaving behind weapons and tanks to be taken freely by the ISIS. This resulted in the group becoming more powerful and more precise in their strikes, although the Iraqi government punished every soldier and high rank official who deserted their posts – The executions were public and broadcasted on TV.

This act itself was a big hit to the Iraq’s defensive lines which caused the military leaders to make a decision and to recruit volunteers from the crowds, although the numbers were too small and they were untrained. Instead, they went to high schools, forcing students to defend their families and country, which led to entire families fleeing the country, including myself and my family.

Late 2014, ISIS proceeds with one of their worst mass executions – 1700 civilians were executed by a single shot in the head within one hour in Spiker’s camp (a large military camp in Anbar). Most of the people were aged 20 to 30. The reason of this massacre was, supposedly, taking precautions against the possibility of any of the civilian enrolling in the Iraqi army. This sad event is known for the whole Iraq as Spiker 1700.

Some of Iraq’s last defenses were its own tribes who stood up for themselves, each clan protecting its territory and slowing the expansion of ISIS, preventing much blood from being shed.

Finally, USA assistance supposedly comes, yet locals “who they should habe been assisting” reported spotting USA military Air Force dropping supplies into ISIS territory (what they claimed to be a mistake), with this happening 3 times. Although, the help was much appreciated after the cooperation and led to many of the ISIS leaders being killed, including the one who captured and burned alive the Jordanian pilot Moath Al-Ksasiba (his execution was streamed and broadcasted).

Most of the Iraqi cities were emptied, Iraqis such as myself abandoning their mother land and fleeing for their lives, to get a better future for their children. Many took shelter in the nearby countries who would welcome them, such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, desperately waiting for other countries outside of the Middle East to help them so they can finally have a feeling of living, knowing that they can finally discover what living in peace means.”

Testimony from my Iraqi friend, who fled Iraq at 18 years old
Jordan, Amman

Written by Alexandra

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