Two young boys waving the Victory sign in the al-Zuhur neighborhood of Mosul shortly after liberation from ISIS. Photo by Ayub Nuri
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Iraqi air force dropped millions of leaflets and letters on the city of Mosul on Thursday, acknowledging the hardship people in the city were going through and encouraging them to be patient as victory was close.
“To our dear people, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, we are with you in everything and our hearts to you, and we feel what you feel of cold, hunger, and the harshness of days and you should be patient and endured that victory is close,” read some of the leaflets.
A press release from the coalition forces explained that the air drop was an initiative by The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) named Letters to Mosul.
“We ask you that you keep on your faith with God because he is alone capable of that removes this ordeal and to relieve you, your concerns and always night comes after day,” said one of the four million letters dropped on the ISIS-held city. “God willing, your sun will shine and we will see the smile and joy on your faces and in the near, we will embrace each other and join each other and return Mosul to Iraq.”
The IWPR initiative involved collecting words and letters of sympathy, encouragement and support for the residents of Mosul from people across Iraq.
According to the Combined Joint Task Force, “This initiative by the people of Iraq reassures the residents of Mosul, held hostage by ISIL for more than two years, that they have not been forgotten and that the rest of Iraq is standing with them, waiting to welcome them back in solidarity when ISIL is defeated.”
Supported by coalition air power and Peshmerga forces, the Iraqi army launched an offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS more than two months ago and troops are making slow, but steady advances into interior neighborhoods of the city.
One letter titled Daughter of Anbar tells the people of Mosul: “To who reads my letter if [it] is from Mosul and its people, we want to say we love you, do not be sad nor afraid everything will end soon, and if [it] was one of ISF or PMF, we want to say you are our heroes our hope and you will liberate Mosul be strong.”