QAYYARAH, Iraq – Hussein Zyab, a young man, has lost seven of his close relatives to ISIS militants in Qayyarah, a liberated town south of Mosul where he is now leading a group of locals going door to door to homes they accuse of being ISIS members or their collaborators. Their demand is leave the town or face state or tribal laws.
“This is the home of Qasim’s brother. Do you testify that he was with ISIS?” a man asks tens of locals gathered in front of a house, a video recorded by Zyab shows.
It is from a demonstration they held several days ago.
They have compiled a list of names of ISIS members which includes any family whom they accuse of having cooperated with ISIS, or if one of their family members used to be with ISIS.
They ask such families to leave the town.
“[I lost] five cousins, and two nephews, a total of seven martyrs,” Hussein Zyab told Rudaw to justify his actions.
He is more determined than anyone else to oust ISIS families.
“No woman, child or elderly will be hurt. None of them would be hurt, and their properties will not be confiscated,” Zyab said, “No one’s house will be burnt, or destroyed. We just ask them to sign [a paper] to leave here at the earliest time. If they refuse to do so, we have the laws of the land, and the tribal laws. We first file a complaint against them.”
According to unofficial data obtained by Rudaw, the ISIS victims include approximately 2,000 people. This is despite the casualties occurred during the liberation of the town.
The local government supports the demands of the victims to ISIS crimes.
“Their demands are in fact legitimate,” Khalid al-Jabouri, a town official said, “Some have lost their son because of ISIS, some two and some an entire family. That is why it is their right to ask to oust these [ISIS] families. As the City Council of Qayyarah we ask the Nineveh governor and the parliament to take a final decision in this regard.”
The oil-rich town of Qayyarah, about 60 km south of Mosul, is otherwise known for the oil wells that were set ablaze by the retreating ISIS militants last year. It took the Iraqi authorities months to extinguish the fire in April.