Life in Mosul under the rule of ISIS

According to an NBC News report, the most common complaint in Mosul these days is about lack of electricity: “We all thought ISIS fighters will hurt people, but they did not do so,” said shop owner Fahad, referring to militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). “It is 100 percent safe here. The only thing we suffer from is the lack of public services.”

The shop owner’s sentiments run counter to reports of brutality carried out by the militants elsewhere. As recently as Wednesday, Iraqi security forces found 53 corpses, blindfolded and handcuffed, south of Baghdad, Reuters reported.

The identity and sectarian affiliation of the dead people was not immediately clear, but the Sunni insurgents have boasted of killing hundreds of captive Shi’ite army troops after capturing the city of Tikrit on June 12. They put footage on the Internet of their fighters shooting prisoners.

ISIS overran Mosul two days before that fight, marking the first of many key victories for the fighters in a lightning offensive through Iraq. The assault triggered an exodus of refugees, with many Shiites fleeing northern Iraq amid fears of sectarian violence at the hands of the Sunni extremists.

While many Shiites left Mosul, those who stayed behind are being treated “just like Sunnis — in a very good way,” insisted Fahad, a 30-year-old Sunni who asked that NBC News only use his first name.

Fahad said he and others initially feared for the safety of their female relatives at the hands of the violent militants.

“We prepared to defend our houses and families, but after a while, we started to see the truth,” he said. “They did not rape a single woman, they did not force people to leave their houses and did not chase innocent people – except those who are wanted.”

Shortly after capturing Mosul, ISIS fighters roamed the city handing out leaflets warning residents away from smoking and drinking alcohol, and promising that lawbreakers would be dealt with under Islamic law, according to The Associated Press. Women also were told to stay home as much as possible.

But ISIS has largely held off on enforcing the group’s strict interpretation of Islamic law, according to residents. [Continue reading…]

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