The Iraqi city of Mosul celebrated its first Eid in many years after the IS militants were ejected from parts of the city.
Children gathered on the eastern side of the city on Sunday, playing on old swings and with toys like guns and rifles, which were the only toys allowed by the Islamic State when they took over Mosul back in 2014.
Under the militant rule, an extreme version of Islam was implemented in the city with children being encouraged to train with weapons, and the textbooks changed to fit the ISIS agenda. Festivals were never allowed to be celebrated with only Eid prayers allowed to be practised on the sacred day.
But according to reports from Reuters, much of the celebrations on Sunday were overshadowed by the fears for thousands of civilians trapped in the Old City in western Mosul, still under Islamic State control. “It won’t be real Eid before we return home,” said a man in his 60s, displaced from the western side of the city, across the Tigris River, where fighting still continues.
The Iraqi forces took the Eastern side of the city after 100 days of fighting and started attacking the Western side in February, with the militants now confined within the Od City of Mosul.
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