Hammam al-Alil, a town which lies south of Mosul in Nineveh Province, has just seen its cement factory re-opened. It was not functioning throughout the 3-year old period during which ISIS was in control of the town.
Plans to rehabilitate the factory were announced in August of this year and they have been completed this week. There has been a three-year halt in production, but, thanks to the efforts of the local administration and technical staff, the rehabilitation of the Hadba cement factory has taken approximately 3 months to accomplish.
The Hadba cement factory produces cement for the reinforcement of the Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq, which serves to generate hydroelectricity and provide water for downstream irrigation. There have been fears that if the dam collapses then a number of cities across Nineveh would be submerged under water. The Hadba cement factory thus plays a pivotal role in its maintenance.
Hammam al-Alil was captured by ISIS militants in 2014, along with neighbouring Mosul. Iraqi forces then besieged the town in October 2016, finally liberating it on 7 November 2016.
During these operations to retake Hammam al-Alil, several reports have mentioned a massacre committed by ISIS militants against the town’s residents and the use of human shields, a common tactic used by the terrorist group on several occasions. The massacre was committed on the grounds that civilians refused to fight on behalf of ISIS against the oncoming Iraqi forces. The liberation of the city was met with joy among the residents of Hammam al-Alil.
After the liberation of Hammam al-Alil, it became a destination for those fleeing the Battle of Mosul, which raged between October 2016 and July 2017. The liberations of Mosul and most of the rest of Nineveh province by early September have allowed for implementation of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects throughout the province.