400 families have returned to Bashiqa in east Mosul

June 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm

400 families have returned to Bashiqa town (photograph: Mohanad Sinjari, June 2017)

Mohanad Sinjari

At least 400 families have returned to the town of Bashiqa in east Mosul after the peshmerga forces wrestled the control of this multi cultural town from the militants of the Islamic State last November. Many others say they are willing to go back as soon as the government can provide services such as water and electricity.

In August 2014, Islamic State militants attacked the Bashiqa town forcing its residents which comes from different religious and ethnic background to flee into the Kurdish region.

“We have received 700 requests from the families to return to Bashiqa,” says Wisam Sleman a member of Bashiqa municipality. “The families who have returned as of now are 400 families.”

A family arrive at their home in Bashiqa (photograph: Mohanad Sinjari, June 2017)

Some residents of this multi cultural town are making preparation by rebuilding their houses so their families can come back, many others are waiting for the government to provide services.

Wisam Sleman says his council is doing its best to provide services to the families in particular electricity and water and expects the influx of returnees to increase in the coming months.

Bashiqa was one of the places which was bombed heavily when the Peshmerga forces advanced on the town in November 2016 and fierce fighting with Islamic State militants meant that a large portion of the town has been either destroyed or badly damaged. The town and the villages around it needs billions of dollars to reinstate services and rebuild the town.

The residents of Bashiqa clean the streets (photograph: Mohanad Sinjari, June 2017)

“We are waiting for the network of water pipes to be fixed after fixing the electricity,” said Azad Khezer one of those who have returned to Bashiqa. Bashiqa’s population is around 130,000 people and most are Yazidis followed by Christians, Shabak and Muslims.

Last month in east Mosul near Bashiqa, the doors of 13 schools were reopened to the students and  the local councils with the help of the central government have intensified their efforts to reinstate services to the population who are in IDP camps and want to go back to their hometowns.

As the locals return to their homes in Bashiqa and other towns, the Iraqi security forces stormed the last pocket of Isis controlled areas in west Mosul in the Old City and the battle is expected to come to an end in the next few weeks.

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