Mosul was occupied by ISIS for over three years and was regarded as the capital of its so-called “Islamic State”. The terrorist group has left behind destruction in its wake, including explosives in schools and homes, as well as causing psychological disorders for civilians who have undergone immense suffering and hardship.
When Mosul was occupied back in 2014, education was hard hit, as the group banned the teaching of several subjects and skewed curriculum to conform to its totalitarian ideology.
For ISIS, schools were main targets to recruit children to fight with them on the front lines of the battles. Further, “Cubs of the Caliphate” was the name given to the students who attended ISIS schools preparing them to become the future leaders of the caliphate. Liberated children say that they were educated in keeping and firing guns, detonating explosive suicide belts, combat and other matters of warfare. Those who failed or tried to escape were punished severely with beatings and threatened with worse.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the militants have even intended to teach maths by normalising violence through symbolism to explain their point, asking what “one bullet plus one bullet” or “one martyr plus one martyr” equalled.
Meanwhile, after Mosul’s liberation and while returning to school is considered to be a good start, recovery will likely be a long process for Iraqi children who were exposed to bloody urban warfare that followed ISIS efforts to indoctrinate the next generation.