October 20, 2014
Balad, Salahuddin, Iraq
Fighters from the Saraya al-Salam Shia militia, under the command of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in cooperation with Iraqi SWAT teams, build up defenses around the Shia town of Balad in the Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad. ISIS fighters have had the town surrounded for over three months. The extremist group controls the neighboring area and is attempting to advance south towards the capital Baghdad.
The video shows the army and militia fighters firing at ISIS insurgents who are positioned just 500 meters away. The militia fighters blame the government for the lack of military and financial support in the fight against ISIS insurgents.
(Man, Arabic) Abu Fatima: (00:52) "We are constantly being attacked from those houses, Abu Jaber, Ezz Balad, and Abu Farraj. Unfortunately, whenever we ask for help from officials or the local government they do not respond. We will remain here no matter what happens, for the sake of [the Prophet’s grandchildren, Imams] al-Hassan and al-Hussein. We asked the officials to give us tanks, or provide us with a support group so we can resist ISIS."
(Man, Arabic) Abu Ali: (01:22) "To whomever might say that our city is going to fall in their [ISIS] hands, [we say that] we are here and ISIS is there. We are outside of the city; it is about 5 km away. We are here, outside the city, protecting it."
(Man, Arabic) al-Husseini: (02:00) "All of this area gets filled with people at night, so they can monitor it. It gets filled with men from the Popular Crowd committee."
(Man, Arabic) al-Husseini: (02:27) "This is a besieged city. Almost 70% of it is besieged. Only the Baghdad-Samarra road is open while ISIS controls the rest. The Popular Crowd forces control about 23km [of the road] from al-Rawashed to Ezz Balad all the way to Tel al-Zahab. This is the brigade of Sayed Mohamad; they are all heroes. Look at this hero here. He has two injuries, one in his hand and another his leg but he refuses to quit – he wants to be a martyr. This is our faith and principle in fighting the enemy."
(Man, Arabic) Abu Ammar: (03:22) "Even if both of my arms were amputated, I would fight with my legs."
(Man, Arabic) Jaafar al-Kazem: (03:29) "We need the support of the central government, we need weapons, munitions and artillery. We also need salaries for the fighters. Why has the central government neglected us while we have been fighting for the past four months?"
(Man, Arabic) Zu al-Fokar: (03:46) "We have been fighting in this area for almost three months. We are fighting like heroes but, unfortunately, nobody is watching or listening to us. We are demanding the simplest rights, the rights of soldiers who do not have anything, even though we are not fighting for money."
Abd al-Hussein Ali:
(09:08) "We are now at entrance number three. Al-Qaeda and ISIS are less than 500 meters away from us. Hopefully, in the upcoming days we will liberate entrance four and five with God's help."
(09:26) "These criminals are about 500 meters away with a sniper rifle aimed at us, but we will beat them."