In the summer of 2014 the world watched in horror as ISIL, or Daesh as it is called in Arabic, captured Mosul – Iraq’s second city - and took control of territory the size of Britain. The brutal approach of terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria was not new; however, many countries who expressed their concerns failed to act to remove the threat. As many Western countries turned a blind eye, the Takfiri terrorist group managed to recruit thousands of foreign terrorist fighters from multiple countries across the globe to spread fear along with violent Takfiri ideology in Iraq. As Iraq was losing more territory to the hands of Daesh, one the most notorious transnational terrorist groups in modern history, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani issued a religious Fatwa calling on all Iraqi citizens to defend the country, its people, the honour of its citizens, and its sacred sites. The call immediately mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to form the Popular Mobilization Forces. And since its foundation, the Popular Mobilization Forces have been getting huge support from the Iraqi people; in fact they represent the Iraqi people. The volunteer forces have proven to be a capable force as they have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00
Narration: On the 10th of June 2014, Daesh (ISIL) captured the capital of Nineveh Province, Mosul.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Daesh Forces: “Al-Maliki and his followers”
Narration: Takfiri terrorist to hold the government building, the airport and Television Euros.
They released the thousand detainees are convinced held Mosul central prison, the federal government said Mosul fell because of unlawful and illicit actions that led to the defeat of Iraqi army there. The Iraqi borders with Syria when our force for Daesh militants now moved freely between both countries
Things were getting out of control and the Iraqi government seemed to be the loosing breath but no one really understood what really happened in Iraq.
ISIL claimed responsibility for series of terrorist attacks which ripped through capital Baghdad. The terrorist group controlled areas as close as 65 kilometers to Baghdad with regions such as “Saydiya” and “Jalawla” under its control the terrorist group was further co in the capital. The Iraqi government formed the military defense belt around the city, “The Baghdad Belt”
Iraq with all its cultural and religious components was affected by the crisis as the world advanced forward it only seemed like Iraq was thinking and polling in everyone around it. Countries all over the world began to express solidarity with Iraq. The United States and the Arab League said that they stand by the Iraqi government, the Secretary-General of the United Nations showed profound concern about the violence ripping through the country.
Event the Pope France has expressed his fears about the recent events in Iraq. Lets we talk was nearly for the media: Very little action came forth, with this kind words to each, his own agenda.
The people of Iraq found themselves on the first line of defense; they had the task of defending their country, their sanctity and their dignity and honor.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Clergy man: “The danger threatening Islam must be revealed to the world. My brothers, we have a huge responsibility now”
Narration: To their backing, were two influential forces: the religious leadership known as “Marja’” led by Iraq senior clerics “Sayed Ali Al-Sistani” and the support of the regional allies namely the Islamic Republic of Iran.
And Najaf has been known as the city of knowledge and scholars were all met on their humming principals of Islam on the love of knowledge and spread the love with another. Unlike those who support killing and slaughtering the other. The attitude of Al –Najaf and scholars is famous for being merciful, uniting and reuniting which open the opportunity for society salvation from the greed wheatear on military, political or religious levels. Throughout centuries scores and Najaf proved that the ability to lead the communities to safety and what Iraq has gone through is the best evidence on the scholars wisdom and the truth about how connected they are with their people despite the religious and political differences.
The fatwa concerning “Al Jihad” according to scholars of Ahl Albayt sect is great defense of Jihad not offensive. The defense of Jihad is about defending religion, belief, country and sanctities. Defense of Jihad means that each person capable of holding weapons has to participate in war.
TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00
Narration: It is about volunteers if the number of volunteers was insufficient to depose the enemy other volunteers would participant for back up and so on. This is how the defense of Jihad was initiated and that was demonstrated by the Friday preacher of Sayed Sistani the defensive Jihad fatwa in Karbala. Millions rather that thousands of Iraqis …. with the Jihad fatwa issued by Sayed Al Sistani for defending Iraq.
This fatwa remind us of its counterpart it’s issued by Najaf scholars to defend Iraq against the English when they first invaded the country in 1914 as well as during the 1920 Iraqi revolt.
The Popular Mobilization forces now consist of sixty thousand to ninety thousand fighters while the number of volunteers exceeded three million Iraqis who gathered from various Iraqi cities mostly from mid and south.
Many cities were liberated by Popular Mobilization forces like “Jurf Al Nasr”, “Amirli” “dhuluiya” “Balad” “Diyala” “Ad Dawr” “Al Baghdadi” “Takrit” ‘Baiji” “Ramadi” and “Jazirat Samarra” while Mosul is soon to be liberated.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier, Special Iraqi Forces: “When the Marja’ (Religious Reference) issued the fatwa of Jihad last year in 2014, the sincere followers volunteered from all over Iraq.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif All-Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “If you intestinally kill someone, you will not be forgiven. I was a preacher and a deputy of the Religious Reference. I also served as the Imam for Congregational prayers in the city of Kufa. I also worked in the Supreme Council in Kufa. But after the fatwa issued by the Grand Ayatollah Al- Sayed Ali Al-Sistani (may Allah Protect him), I left those commitments and joined the battlefields.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Hameed Al- Asadi, Volunteer Soldier: “In response to the call of the Religious Reference, We are here to serve this country. Iraq is precious to us. It is our country, land and wealth. Ii is Mesopotamia. We are responding to the call of those provinces that were invaded by Daesh. Because this call includes all Iraqi people, and we are a part of the Iraqi people and we have a responsibility.”
Narration: Thousands of volunteers answered the call of Marja’ for secret defense. The Popular Mobilization Units known as Hasht reborn after the June set back in modern Iraq. The aim of their formation was to support Iraq security forces in the matter of weeks the joint forces managed three capture vast territories, previously dominated by Daesh.
TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00
Narration: Back in June, Daesh had rapidly swept through five provinces in Iraq east and west. Areas with the army and other security agencies had collapsed under treated for reasons still under investigation.
In decree of the Marja’ in titled "Al Jihad Al Kafai" had begun to bring the progress escort by Daesh to be hold, it was an orthodox for the people of Iraq to receive such a decree however they quickly welcomed the call made by Marja’.
People from all over Iraq began answering the call, especially the predominately Shia regions in southern Iraq. The group began gaining memento as well as popularity. Many side as the beginning to end the Daesh and its allies as ties began to torn. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis began to answer the call of Sayed Al Sistani a man deeply reverted in Iraq.
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Iraqi Soldier: “This is Salman Pak. We will start from the gas station and move towards that direction. Look! Our men have taken their positions.”
Narration: Amirli a city known as Iraq forth for heroism, patriotism, and devotion. Amirli lies in the district of “Tuz Khurmatu” and Iraq “Salahuddin” province entering from Sueilman Beik towards the district of “Kada’ Al Azeem”. The Iraqi forces backed by fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units broke in 90 days siege by Daesh on unarmed civilians.
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “As you know, Amirli has been besieged for 85 days. We were ordered to land in Amirli, although we knew that the town was heavily besieged. And we indeed in Amirli while it was under siege.”
Narration: The Iraqi forces could not … by the rules in Amirli, Daesh had chocked them early with …
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Soldiers: “ISIL is over there, and here are the Shias of Imam Ali.
Victory is ours…we’re at your services O Husayn.”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “The courage and resistance of the people of Amirli proved their loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (Progeny of Prophet Mohammad). They conquered ISIL. Once we landed in the area, we constructed barriers around Amirli with the help of the Popular Mobilization Units.Fierce fight took place.”
Narration: After deliberation for Amilri the joint forces in the Popular Mobilization Units cleared the name highway connecting the capital Baghdad to Iraq’s mirth.
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Soldier: “God willing, we will catch the Daesh rats and dig their graveyard under Amirli’s Sand.”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “Daesh advanced in different directions by tanks and other vehicles, but thanks to the heroic soldiers, the attacks were repelled more than once and the Daesh terrorists were defeated and forced to flee.”
TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Soldiers: “To Amirli…. Good luck… we’re the soldiers of the Religious Reference and Sayed Al- Sistani. We will fight to the last drop of our blood. We should never go back unless Amirli is free. We are going to free Amirli. This is an order from Sayed Al-Sistani. Let Daesh hear us, we will either free Amirli or die trying. God willing, we will have good news for the Iraqi people.”
Narration: Daesh militants fled the Way to “Hamrin Mountain”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Soldier: “The first 10-15 meters are dangerous. Once we cross them, we will stay behind the mountains and our group will be safe.”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “Several villages were freed. More than 38 villages around Amirli were under the control of Daesh. Amirli is located in a valley and the enemy was stationed on high grounds. Yet the enemy was defeated and they fled by the will of Allah.”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Soldier: “keep up in one line.”
SOUDNBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “After the liberation of Amirli, we took control of several villages like Al-Ukhaidir, Bashgalan and Adhaim Dam. Adhaim was liberated with the help of other mobilization forces. And once again achieved victory due to the assistance of Almighty Allah.”
Narration:“Jurf Al Nasr” it means the victory cliff, where to defeat of Daesh there. It was called “Jurf Al Sakhr” (The Rock Cliff ). “Jurf Al Nasr” lines 60 Kilometers south west of Baghdad. Jurf Al Nasr has the area of 50 Square Kilometers and the population of approximately 18 thousand and the Euphrates rivers is on its right. It is connected to the cities of Fallujah and Amiriyah Al-Fallujah in Iraq western province of “Anbar” and also shares border with the villages of Latifiyah, Iskandariyah, Mahmudiyah and Youssifiyah which led as Baghdad doorstep.
On the 24th October 2014, the Iraqi forces kicked off the Al-Sharia offensive, Hezbollah brigades, Badr corpse and AAH, and the Lambor gates take part in the operations. These groups were fighting under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units. The province of Babel decided to cut off the Jurf Al Nasr for eight month following he operations for the diffusion of IDs and landmines planted by the terrorists Takfiris.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “Being a preacher, I had little experience in armed combat. However, in my academic years, during the rule of the fallen regime students were forced to attend military training camps on their summer vacations. Honestly, the military training camps proved to be beneficial for us. And when we joined the battlefield we gained much more experience. In the Day of Judgment, Allah will be judging.”
Narration: Washington lobbing coalition against Daesh or so it’s said “The Lack complain
of the lack of support”. The lack of intelligence cooperation and the uninfected … this support coalition. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abbadi criticized the performance of the so – called Coalition.
TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00
Narration: He pointed out that the fellow of front Militants didn’t stop or even decrease, Al-Abbadi also warned of Daesh making the unlawful earns against Iraqi oil.
Securing Baghdad belt was priority for the Iraqi forces and the Popular Mobilization Units, Iraqi forces backed by volunteer fighters most for Latifiya, Mahmudiya, Youssifiya, Abu Gharib, Arab Jibor, Taji, Tarmiyah, Radwaniyah area in Baghdad.
The push for Baghdad belt came as the Iraqi army had retaken the areas in the province of Alla east of Iraq.
First militants had spread in this areas of Al Sadiya, Jalawla, Al Azeem, Al Muqdadiyah, Al Mansourieh, Al Khalis, and Sammra and Hamrina and Baqubah.
Iraqi fighters backed by volunteer fighters, fight 52 battles for six months in the Alla, Daesh lost over the thousands first militants from over 30 nationalities. In Sadiyah 60 Kilometers north east of Baqubah the Iraqi joint forces introduced new fighting techniques. Daesh fled from six different areas on Sadiyas outskirt without putting the fight. Some even escaped in guys of woman in the aftermath of all the battles the human right violations of millions, not thousands.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “Our first battleground was in Sabba Al-Bour located 15 kilometers from Baghdad. Mortar projectiles would reach Kadhimiya city. There wasn’t enough time to get into training camps. Immediately, my friends and I received our weapons and headed from Buratha mosque towards Sabba Al-Bour which was a no man’s land. Half of it was under the control of terrorists while the other half was under the control of Iraqi forces. Battles continued until the complete liberation of Sabaa Al-Bour.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Clergy man: “With the help of Allah you will be victorious. As we told you earlier, caution is of utmost importance. Jihad means victory. It means to elevate Islam. Jihad means standing up for our religion, sect and creed. It means that a person should be cautious and should never give up on himself easily. Because to us, human life id vey precious. Our soldiers are extremely precious. Your lives matters for us. They are the most important thing for us. Take care of yourselves. And obey your commanders. Never take a personal step. Be careful my brothers. The most important thing is to pay attention. Caution, Caution, Caution.”
TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “We then headed for Al-Dhabitiya which was the fiercest battle. The terrorists were perfectly ready and there was a military camp called Al-Hamra with tunnels. And it was built to withstand American airstrikes and even nuclear attacks. This camp included concrete tunnels that would serve as a refuge for aircraft. Daesh took advantage of this camp knowing that even the American forces couldn’t invade it during their occupation of Iraq. This camp overlooks Al-Dhabitiya area and this made the battles much more difficult. We had many martyrs. The military unit that I led had nine martyrs alone. In two days we fought two consecutive battles without rest. But thanks be to Allah, we were able to defeat dozens of terrorists. Some of them were Arabs. We captured one who was a lieutenant in the fallen regime’s intelligence agency an another one was from Saudi Arabia.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Soldiers: “Hussein, do you copy me? This is Hussein, copy that.”
Narration: Following the fighting in the Alla the Iraqi forces headed to Salahuddin Province, Salaheddin located north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It is a predominantly Sunni Province. Salaheddin Province witnessed several distinctiveness military operations, Iraqi joint forces liberate the cities of Tikrit, Samarra, Bald and Dhuluiya and areas near Al Alam and Al Mutasim. The major collapse of Daesh was in Dujal, Sayad Gharib, Ishaqi and Alkassar.
Backed by Sunni tribes by the Popular Mobilization Units the Iraqi forces liberated Alrmelat north of Saqlawiya 20 Kilometers east of Fallujah
Saqlawiya center as a flies on the main road making Baghdad and Takrit and according to Mosul. It is located on …., 1000 Kilometer from the Capital Baghdad. The land surrounding it are cultivated territories for local farmers. Its borders to district of Balad from the south and from the north the city of Sammara.
Balad stands witnessing to coexistence to Iraq it is a mixed Shia and Sunni district, the residents are mostly farmers. Popular Mobilization Units had threaded Balad with much delicacy. At the same time they received much backing for the locals, they protected homes, lands as well as animal stocks. This earn them especial places in the heart of the locals who almost are farmers.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “After those victories, I was ordered to join Sabba Al- Dujail Brigade. The Brigade’s mission was to protect Iraq and the Holy Shrines. With our soldiers we went to the area and set up a military camp. I have been a commander here since November 25th 2014. I am here with my fellow officers and the Holy Shrine supervisors. We have been supervised directly by the commander, Sheikh Maitham Al- Zaidi. Thanks to his guidance, we have been able to win the battle in the area. According to the Fatwa, We must co- operate with the official Iraqi forces. So, we co- operate with the 17th Brigade which is responsible for this area. We explored the area and charted its geography Battle here are different. Other areas are deserts, while this area is full of fields, trees, valleys and natural obstacles like the Al-Ishaqi River. These are natural obstacles that preclude military advance.”
TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “When we first arrived, the road from Dujail to Balad to Samarra was taken over by the enemy and was under their snipers’ control. According to eyewitnesses the snipers had killed dozens of women and children. Any civilian vehicle on the road to Samarra would be taken over by snipers who were on the hills. We were able to penetrate into enemy positions and escape routes. The escape rout in the Sayid Gharib area started from Al- Karmah, on the outskirts of Fallujah. After exploring the area, we entered into battle. With the help of the Al- Abbas Brigade we managed to defeat the enemy that controlled the area. They fled to the other side of the Al- Ishaqi River. We inflicted heavy casualties on them. Many of those who couldn’t cross the river were killed.”
Narration: We visit the University of Tikrit, signs of battles are still evident everywhere but mostly on the faces of fighters which … from victory, for month this men of not taken arrest they ended out. They were undergrads even fasting the holy month of Ramadan in the razing hot weather in their posts.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Hameed Al-Asadi, volunteer Soldier: “We are currently in the defused minefields of the Sayid Gharib area. Here we have explosives that are detonated by mobile phones, batteries and lighters. The explosives are set off by pulling out the device. Once the device is pulled out, the detonator is activated. These are the enemy’s explosive devices with their detonators. This is a detonator in a jerry can forming a double explosive device. The fuse is connected to two sides. We have a ruler here. They are ruler- shaped explosive devices. There are also pincer –like and compressor-like explosive devices. This is our enemy’s work. Let’s see them closely. Here are the pincer-like and compressor-like devices. We are facing plenty of obstacles. Sometimes we have a little backup… but thankfully, we are avoiding the explosive devices and defusing them manually. We don’t have bomb detectors. I think this is a double explosive device. I think this is a double explosive device, right?
Let ‘go, be careful.
We are defusing the explosive devices planted by the enemy. They have planted them everywhere…. even in universities! This whole area is currently booby- trapped and we are working on cleaning it without damaging the buildings. These buildings are habitable and state- owned properties. Thus, we have to protect them as much as possible.”
TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Hameed Al-Asadi, volunteer Soldier: “Engineering platoons play an effective role because when he land is booby-trapped, military vehicles and convoys cannot pass and are slowed down. Hence, engineering platoons are of great importance. We defused explosives in this place. When we entered these university departments, we found the chlorine chemicals used in making the explosive devices. This is the chlorine we found. This is the chlorine they used in making the explosive devices. They haven’t booby-trapped anything here. This was only their workshop. They used to sleep and eat here. This is their mess.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier:“Usually, the captured terrorists are wounded, especially the Arabs since they don’t easily surrender.
We are now in the Al-Mutasim area…
We are in Al-Mutasim area southeast of Samarra. There is a fierce against Daesh in this area.
The heroes in the Al-Aqeedah and Badr Brigades are taking care of the situation. Daesh and its snipers are ahead of us.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Soldiers’ slogans: “We are at your service O Husayn!”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “Al-Mu’tasim has a difficult nature. It wasn’t controlled by Daesh but by the Ba’ath Party and the Naqshbandi group. Their leader was Ahmad the son of Ali Majid who was the commander of the enemy’s forces in Al- Mu’tasim. Basically, al-Mu’tasim was the nest of the Baath Party during the rule of the fallen regime. Back then, most of the security and intelligence agency officers were from Al-Mu’tasim.
Samarra and AL-Askari Holy Shrine were bombarded daily from the AL-Mu’tasim area. So, we intended to liberate this city to protect the Al-Askari Holy Shrine. It was liberated in three days after three consecutive battles. In the first battle, we failed to completely liberate the area because of their strong resistance and heavy shelling.
We are now in the Albu Risha area near Hermmin Dam, Adhaim dam and Ad-Dawr city. These are the vehicles and weapons of Daesh and this is the Saudi support they receive in Iraq. This is one f Daesh’s vehicles. It was captured by Al-Aqeedah fighters with the cooperation of the Iraqi Air Force. These belong to Daesh along with the corpses thrown in the valleys. This is the support given to the terrorists by some Arab states of the Persian Gulf.”
TIME CODE: 40:00_47:16
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “We decided to launch the “Labbaik Ya Husayn Operation.” It was decided by Haj Al-Aameri in a meeting with other brigades. The aim was to attack and eradicate the enemy in this area. The aim of the attack was to separate Al-Anbar and Mosul governorates from Baghdad. It was said that Daesh was getting closer and closer to Baghdad which was dangerous. We knew that it was a false claim since we are familiar with their propaganda techniques. In the past year, we became familiar with tier methods, paths, mechanisms and routine movements.
We advanced from three directions to derach Salah Ad-Din Governorate from Nineveh and Al-Anbar. The responsibilities were distributed under the supervision of Haj Hadi Al-Aameri.our brigade was commanded by Sheikh Maitham Al-Zaidi. The scope of our brigade’s mission was the Sayed Gharib area. We started to advance after we had gathered the necessary information and prepared our vehicles and convoys for the battle.
In an effort to obstruct our path, the enemy had booby- trapped all of its main and subsidiary support routs beyond the Al-Ishaqi River. However, our excellent engineering platoons succeeded in defusing the explosive devices. In a battle which occurred beyond the Al-Ishaqi River, the enemy desperately tried to repel the attack by any means possible…by snipers, mortar projections, and a range of other weapons. However, our attack was intense. We had a site full of supporting weapons including Katyusha rockets, 120 mm caliber mortar projectiles and Grad long-range rockets. With our intense attack, we were able to defeat the enemy and advance from three directions at night. We controlled the land in groups and chased our enemy out. The enemy then entered civilian houses and started to attack us. So, the combat switched from beyond Al-Ishaqi River to civilian houses. The enemy fled in the morning, a fierce battle.”
Narration: Until now there is the no indication of when this war will end. Everyone realizes however the Iraq can only pass this crisis to reunity and persistence.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Latif Al- Amidi, Volunteer Soldier: “The most joyful moments are when we liberate a town considered a bastion for terrorists. Liberating an area and taking control over it is our aim. We are very happy that we were able to take part in freeing the land and cities of our beloved country.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Sattar Mohammed, Brigadier at Special Iraqi Forces: “We held a mourning ceremony is Sayad Gharib to honor our martyrs. In this distirict some of our soldiers were martyred and some others were wounded.”
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Hameed Al-Asadi, Soldier: “Our chests are shields protecting our country and the Holy shrines.”
On screen: Hameed Al-Asadi wa martyred while defusing a bomb only an hour after the interview.
SOUNDBITE [Arabic] Hameed Al-Asadi, Soldier: “We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. Death is every human’s destiny; if not today, then tomorrow. Even if someone lives for a thousand or two thousand years, he will eventually walk to the grave. This is our destiny.
Narration: These men are heroes. Many of our friends of being killed in action despite so they are determined to continue to fight to win.