The security situation in northern Iraq has stabilised immensely after ISIS' defeat, allowing people, who were once displaced, to remain in their homes and earn a living.
Shepherds across northern Iraq have returned to their usual grazing patterns after ISIS was defeated in the country in December 2017. During the four-year occupation of ISIS, the activities of shepherds and farmers were limited due to shelling and kidnappings across the country.
As a result, many farmers were displaced from their homes and forced to sell or leave their livestock. Furthermore, the militant group destroyed farms as they retreated from agricultural areas, as part of their “scorched earth policy.”
A woman from Mosul, who was forced to sell her sheep to feed her family, now says she has the freedom to raise livestock without fear. “We came here 15 days ago. We were in Mosul where everything is expensive, and there are no grazing plains, so we came here to feed the sheep and have a livelihood,” said a female Moslawi shepherd who recently moved to north Iraq.
As security stabilised following the defeat of the militant group, the roads connecting north Iraq to areas formerly held by ISIS reopened allowing thousands of people to move back and forth. According to observers, the economic movement of people from liberated areas to north Iraq has made the economy in that region flourish.
“Roads are open, and people are coming from Mosul and al-Ba’aj to Kurdistan,” said another shepherd in the north.
While the militant group’s defeat ushered in a time of peace for Iraq, the security forces have continued to warn citizens from straying too far into uninhabited areas due to the possibility of ISIS sleeper cell presence.
This issue was highlighted over the past two weeks due to ISIS’ kidnapping and execution of fishermen in the Tharthar Lake and truffle gatherers in the Anbar desert.
As a result of these continued security threats, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) ISF have launched operations to rid the country of ISIS remnants.
However, despite these issues, many people in Iraq have resumed their lives after the militant group’s expulsion, showing that Iraqis will remain steadfast despite the damage.