iraqi boy

IRAQ. Bashur. Erbil governorate. Debaga. November 24, 2016. Displaced Iraqi boy Jasim Abudllah Jasim, 13, who according to his family lost his leg in an air strike in Baiji, plays football in Debaga refugee camp.

Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

I went out like a sleepwalker. Aroused by nightmares. I began searching for my homeland, in all continents, on earth and in heaven. Praying. Reciting every supplication. Carrying shrines. And a generation of orphaned martyrs. And a generation of veteran martyrs. And another awaiting the massacre… oh homeland of the innocent, were you for us a graveyard or a homeland? - Abd Al Latif Ataymish 

Pity the children. 

An Iraqi young boy holds a weapon from the window of a car as people gather to show readiness to join Iraqi security forces in the fight against Jihadist militant who have taken over several northern Iraqi cities in the capital Baghdad.

ISIS beheads 15-year-old Iraqi boy for listening to pop music

The boy, Ayham Hussein, was discovered by ISIS henchman as he was listening to a portable compact disc player.                

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Just when you thought Islamic State had reached its limit of depravity, it manages to outdo itself.

According to Kurdish media reports, the jihadist group that has captured wide swaths of Syria and Iraq beheaded a 15-year-old boy in Mosul for the crime of listening to Western pop music.

Reports cite officials in the northern Iraqi city as saying that the boy, Ayham Hussein, was discovered by ISIS henchman as he was listening to a portable compact disc player.

Hussein was detained by ISIS operatives as he sat inside a shop owned by his father in an open-air market in western Mosul. The boy was beaten and tried in a local sharia court, which sentenced him to be executed.

“The boy was executed by beheading in a town square in the center of the city,” a source told Kurdish media.

The execution shocked and angered Mosul residents, some of whom staged a protest at the home of the victim’s family.

“All we wanted to know was who the bad guys were. But nobody knew. We were getting picked off one by one and we couldn’t find the bad guys. Some guy who was helping you during the day might kill you at night. The enemy didn’t wear uniforms. Far more innocent people got hurt than anyone else. It wasn’t malicious. It was just legitimately confusing situations. When you’re driving to a meeting and a car bomb explodes, suddenly every car looks like a bomb. And you’re surrounded by cars. And anybody could have a suicide vest. And you’re surrounded by people. It was threat overload. And it was mentally exhausting. One day we were driving to a small village to pick up a young Iraqi boy. We were going to fly him to the US for a rare heart surgery. And I’m in the back of the convoy doing rear security. And this woman in a burqa starts walking toward me. And I’m shouting in Arabic for her to stop, but she keeps coming. And I can see she’s carrying something. She’s clutching something inside her burqa. And she won’t stop. And I keep trying to wave her away. I’m screaming at her and pointing my gun but she keeps coming closer. And I’m thinking that I have to kill her because she has a bomb. I have to do it. And I switch off my safety, and I’m just about to pull the trigger, and suddenly she opens up her burqa. And there’s a baby inside.”

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Mosul offensive: ISIS militants fleeing to Syria, says tribal leader

over 100,000 allied forces converge on a region controlled by only 5000 islamic state fighters

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Near Mosul, Iraq (CNN)Hundreds of ISIS fighters are fleeing Mosul in Iraq and crossing into neighboring Syria as coalition forces close in on the city, a powerful tribal leader in the region says.

Sheikh Abdullah Alyawer, a tribal leader in the town of Rabia, on Iraq’s border with Syria, told CNN Monday that dozens of ISIS militants and their families were fleeing the city each day, and crossing into Syria at Ba'aaj, an ISIS-controlled crossing point south of Sinjar.

The route was entirely along corridors under ISIS control, he said. Fleeing civilians with no affiliation to ISIS usually ended up in the Syrian town of al Houl, which is under Kurdish control, he said.


Better than expected gains

Coalition forces celebrated better-than-expected territorial gains over the weekend and artillery fire pummeled ISIS positions in the encircled town of Bashiqa early Monday morning in the relentless push for Mosul.

According to the Iraqi Joint Operations command center, 78 towns and villages have been liberated so far as the operation to retake the city enters its second week.

The center said 772 ISIS fighters had been killed and 23 were detained, 127 vehicle-borne explosive devices were destroyed, two bomb-making factories were discovered and nearly 400 improvised-explosive devices were remotely detonated so far.

United against ISIS

The offensive is remarkable for both its speed and the level of cooperation that this disparate group is showing in the face of its common enemy – an extraordinary union of factions that have long stood on opposing sides in Iraq’s history, with Kurdish forces, Christians and Shia Muslims fighting alongside the majority Sunni Arabs.

The thousands of ground troops were supported from above with a concentrated program of airstrikes aimed at weakening ISIS’ defenses – the highest weekly number since the campaign against the terror group began, according to Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

“One week into #Mosul operation, all objectives met thus far, and more coalition airstrikes than any other 7-day period of war against #ISIL,” he wrote on Twitter, using another name for ISIS.

The coalition force, which vastly exceeds ISIS’ numbers, is closing in on the beleaguered city, still home to an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 civilians.
But the coalition is well aware that resistance – already tough in the open fields and small villages surrounding the main prize – is likely to ramp up significantly when the city’s perimeter is breached.

ISIS has been in control of Mosul for two years, giving its fighters plenty of time to fortify defenses, and the militants have time and time again proved themselves adept at bloody, urban warfare.

The city was important to the terror group as the cultural capital of its envisaged caliphate, or Islamic state.

‘Freed’ and then forgotten

With this weekend’s gains have come pockets of horrific losses.

ISIS executed about 40 people who were celebrating the apparent liberation of their villages by Iraqi forces, a Mosul City Council official said Sunday, citing local sources.

The official said that although Iraqi troops passed through the village where the executions took place – near Nimrud, south of Mosul – they did not leave units behind to ensure that ISIS militants stayed out.

These follow executions on Thursday and Friday, when ISIS militants rounded up and shot dead 284 men and boys, an Iraqi intelligence source told CNN.

Emergency crews have been working around the clock to extinguish a fire at a sulfur factory in Qayyara, about 30 kilometers south of Mosul, that was torched by ISIS militants.

The fire, started when the ISIS militants left explosives and slow-burning oil in sulfur deposits and around the facility, has sent plumes of toxic smoke in the air, causing hundreds to seek medical help.

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Navy Corpsman Richard Barnett of Camarilo, Calif. checks the heart of a young Iraqi boy as other Navy medics treat the boy’s older sister, right, after the two children and their family were caught in a crossfire between US Marines and Iraqi soldiers just outside of a Marine encampment in central Iraq on Saturday, March 29, 2003. The boy was not injured. His sister, who received gunshot wounds, was expected to survive. The father was wounded and the mother was killed in the gun battle. “If anything good comes from this nonsense, I haven’t seen it yet.” said Barnett after the two children and their father were taken away for a medivac helicopter.

IRAQ, Arbil : An Iraqi Christian boy, who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, poses for a photo wearing a Father Christmas hat in the grounds of Mar Elia Chaldean Catholic Church, where many displaced Christians have erected tents, in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq on December 24, 2014. For many faithful across the region, the Christmas festivities will be tinged with sadness following a year of bloodshed marked by a surge in the persecution of Christians that has drawn international condemnation. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

We are taught from day one that countries we have been in conflicts with in the past are ‘bad’ and 'oppressive’. But we forget about the little Arabian boy laughing with his friends, the Russian girl celebrating her sweet 16, or an Iranian couple holding their newborn for the first time, an Iraqi boy getting butterflies on the way to see his girlfriend, the North Korean child smiling from a good dream, or the little Saudi girl jamming to music as she does her homework- we get so caught up in history that we forget to look at the country as a whole, rather than one spoiled part. We have allowed ourselves to be trained to see them as the enemy, rather than human beings. We forget that that soldier we just killed is a husband, a father, or son. Everyone who fights has a reason, something they think is worth dying for. How can we damn them when we are no better in their eyes. This whole world is perspective- and the way we chose to look at it can be the difference between a widow and a joyful reunion. As cliche as it sounds, we can be the change. It’s not just our country, it’s every country, this is the reason why we are stuck in this violent rut. We are conditioned to view an enemy as a target, not a human being with a family, a story, a life.