Fallujah, one step until the liberty
In January 2014, a variety of sources reported that the city was controlled by al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS; sometimes called ISIL). On a broadcast of National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Middle East analyst Kirk Sowell stated that while ISIS was occupying parts of the city, most of the ground lost was to the tribal militias who are opposed to both the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda. More than 100 people were killed as Iraqi police and tribesmen battled militants who took over parts of two cities in Anbar province. On the same day, the Iraqi Army shelled the city of Fallujah with mortars to try to wrest back control from Sunni Muslim militants and tribesmen, killing at least eight people, tribal leaders and officials said. Medical sources in Fallujah said another 30 people were wounded in shelling by the army. On 22 May 2016, the Iraqi Army notified the remaining Fallujah residents of its plans to retake the city, and that such residents should either evacuate or if not possible, minimally raise a white flag over their roofs. Over the next several days, the army made advances on the city, capturing several surrounding villages on the outskirts of the town, killing a total of 270 ISIL fighters, at least 35 members of Iraqi forces, 40 civilians, and 1 Basij member, as of 1 June 2016. On 30 May 2016, the military began to enter the city of Fallujah itself, but began to be stalled on 1 June, trying to attack ISIL members, but keeping the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped inside the city safe. However, by 3 June they began to make further advances on the city, killing 62 more ISIL militants. On 26 June, the Iraqi army reported that it had fully liberated the city, while fighting was ongoing in some pockets northwest of Fallujah which remained under ISIL control. (Source: Wikipedia) One week before the liberation of Fallujah, I entered Iraq, and this is the life story of one of the most important cities under the control of the ISIS/ISIL rule in the last days and days after the recapture from ISIL militants.