As Daesh ‘Islamic State’ fighters are being routed from cities and towns across Syria and Iraq, they increasingly leave behind carnage, causing major damage to local economies and devastating people they already have traumatized.
A VOA reporter this week visited a town that was held by Daesh until last week, when Iraqi forces pushed the fighters out. The oil-rich town of Qayyarah, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, was under Daesh rule for more than two years. Daesh militants made certain that Qayyarah’s infrastructure was damaged before they were defeated. Houses were partially or fully destroyed. Oil wells were set ablaze, causing major damage to the economy and the environment. At least 10 oil fields were burned down, local sources said.
“[Daesh] targeted oil fields knowing it was people’s money,” said Hussein Jasim, a resident of Qayyarah, referring to the Iraqi economy.
The city’s military base also was wiped out, according to Iraqi military officials.
“The base is not usable now,” said Colonel Karim Radwan, an Iraqi military officer who led the offensive against Daesh there. “[Daesh] bombed the infrastructure of the base.”
Qayyarah’s airbase was a key installation for the Iraqi air force before it was captured by IS in June 2014. The base also was used for several years by U.S. forces after the U.S. intervention in 2003.
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Featured Image – A member of the Iraqi government forces stands on a military vehicle as smoke billows from oil wells, set ablaze by Islamic State (IS) group militants before fleeing the oil-producing region of Qayyarah, Aug. 30, 2016. – VOA