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Beheadings, Whippings, & Terror: Another Month Of Brutality In IS-Controlled Mosul

  • Joanna Paraszczuk

IS militants in the northern Iraqi city carried out the execution-style killings of 455 people for the usual "crimes" -- spying, apostasy, blasphemy, fornication, and mocking the "caliphate."

IS militants in the northern Iraqi city carried out the execution-style killings of 455 people for the usual "crimes" -- spying, apostasy, blasphemy, fornication, and mocking the "caliphate."

September was yet another long month of murder, terror, and brutality for residents of Islamic State (IS)-controlled Mosul.

IS militants in the northern Iraqi city carried out the execution-style killings of 455 people for the usual "crimes" -- spying, apostasy, blasphemy, fornication, and mocking the "caliphate."

The killings are documented in a report released on October 24 by Mosul Eye, the pseudonym of an Iraqi historian who has been documenting IS's activities in Mosul since the militants overran the city in June 2014.

IS has used its brutal system of killings and punishments to terrorize Mosul's local population into obedience.

This is clear from the report of the September 24 murder of a local restaurant owner, Karim Alumar. The 63-year-old had refused to close his restaurant during prayers, so IS militants had him publicly flogged in the Bab al-Tub neighborhood.

But during the whipping, Alumar "blasphemed" and was immediately beheaded.

September 10 was a particularly bloody day -- IS gunmen killed a group of 45 former employees of an Iraqi election commission.

September's dead also include five Yazidi girls of unknown age. They were all "executed" at the Al-Khansa hospital in Mosul's eastern Al-Sukar neighborhood. Their "crimes" are not recorded.

Apart from these killings, in September IS militants publicly whipped 118 people for various misdemeanors, such as beard shaving, failing to attend prayers, arguing about religion, wearing the wrong clothes, smoking in public, and playing dominoes.

And IS publicly amputated the hands of another 88 Mosul residents accused of theft.

Paying For Health

The Mosul Eye report also exposes other details of IS's rule, including how it's generating revenue amid a deteriorating economic situation by charging residents fees for public services.

That contrasts sharply with IS's propaganda material on Mosul, which portrays the city as an economically prosperous utopia.

IS is charging local civilians fees to use health and education services, in an attempt to make hospitals, schools, and Mosul's university self-sufficient.

The militant group is also training foreign professionals to run Mosul's hospitals, according to Mosul Eye. That claim would certainly fit with IS's propaganda efforts, which have focused on recruiting foreign health professionals to work in medical facilities under IS control.

In April, for example, IS produced a propaganda video featuring Australian pediatrician Tareq Kamleh, who introduces the "Islamic State Health Service" and calls for other medical professionals to join him.

But the reality of hospitals under IS rule is a far cry from IS propaganda. Mosul residents who need treatment are now forced to pay high fees, a significant problem in a city where most people are unemployed.

IS has also imposed tuition fees for parents of children studying in elementary schools, Mosul Eye says.

Indoctrinating Children

IS continued its indoctrination of children in Mosul in September, according to Mosul Eye. At the start of the month, 176 children aged between 13-15 joined IS, and were transferred among various training centers in the city.

And in a chilling twist to IS's ongoing practice of enslaving and raping girls and women from Iraq's Yazidi minority, the militant group enrolled 18 Yazidi girls, all aged 12, in IS's women's brigade last month. The girls are being taught IS's version of Shari'a law as well as how to carry weapons, the report says.

The report also claimed that IS had brought a group of very young Christian children, aged between 6 and 8 years old, to Mosul and is housing them in an orphanage in the city, though it is not clear what the militant group plans to do with them.

'Russians' Relocating To Mosul

In September, IS relocated more groups and families of non-Iraqi militants to Mosul, the report says. These include a group of around 380 Syrian men, women, and children who have pledged allegiance to the militant group.

Militants from outside the Middle East, including ethnic Uyghurs from China and groups of Russian-speaking fighters, have also relocated from Syria to Iraq. It's not clear from the report where these fighters come from, though Mosul Eye says they are not "Chechens," a term that is often used in the context of militants in Syria and Iraq as a catch-all for North Caucasians.

Social-media evidence has shown that Russian-speaking fighters from Central Asia, including Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, have moved to Mosul. Some of these fighters have brought wives and children with them, and the children are undergoing military training.

North Caucasian IS militants from Daghestan and Karachai-Cherkessia have also relocated from Raqqa to Mosul in recent months. These include a group of prominent Daghestani preachers and ideologues led by an ethnic Karachai named Abu Jihad (Islam Seit-Umarovich Atabiyev).

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena


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