September, 7, 2014
Despite the Kurdish Peshmerga reclaiming control over Makhmour, the city in the Kurdish controlled part of Iraq, is still reeling from the aftermath of ISIS' occupation. Over 60% of residents have fled to Erbil while those who cannot afford to do so have returned to find their houses pillaged and, in some cases, destroyed. Many are now sleeping outside on the sidewalk or on top of roofs to guard their homes from robbers. If you roam around the city, you will find empty streets and closed shops while the Kurdish flag flies on governmental buildings. There are also reports of some Arab families running away to join ISIS, but for the families that stayed or have returned, it will take some time to piece their lives back together.
SOUNDBITE 1: Ibrahim Sheikh Alla, Director of the District Officer (man, English)
SOUNDBITE 2: Ali Hasam, citizen (man, Kurdish): “We demand all citizens to return to the areas under the control of the Kurdish forces, to protect the homes from the robbing that is happening. People are afraid because they know that ISIS is very close to Makhmour now and because Arab families in the area, such as the citizens of Baqert, are supportive of ISIS.”
“We have extreme security measurements for protection at the moment, and the situation of the market is bad.”
SOUNDBITE 3: Mohamad Sultan, taxi driver (man, Kurdish)
“Many people are afraid now, they are sleeping outside their homes on the look out for any ISIS attack. You can no longer hear anybody speaking Arabic around the area now. ISIS took over my house for four days, they used my clothes, ate my food, and broke into my vault and stole everything, including my passport and my keys.”