Spying, or at least the perception of those conducting espionage, against ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has become somewhat epidemic in the extremist-controlled territories known as the “caliphate,” resulting in over a hundred beheadings, executions, and prison sentences this week. According to Iraqi military authorities, the retaliations by ISIS for the alleged crimes included the beheadings of 23 teens.
Iraqi News reported July 25 that Iraqi Army Brigadier-General Abdul-Karim Sabawi was quoted as saying that not only were 23 teens arrested by ISIS and beheaded.
“ISIS arrested 23 young men from Nimrod and al-Salamiya and beheaded them,” he said. “The deceased were accused of collaboration with the security forces and providing them with important information about the outfit’s movement in Nimrod.”
Sabawi called the beheadings a “heinous crime” and noted that the accusations and deaths came after “preparations to liberate Mosul from ISIS control is almost completed.”
Since February, United States-backed Iraqi forces and coalition factions began a military push toward Mosul. The city, which spans the Tigris River, is located in northern Iraq, about 250 miles north of Baghdad, and remains the largest city under ISIS control. Mosul was captured in June 2014 when the Islamic State announced itself and its self-declared caliphate. Prior to its fall to ISIS, Mosul had a population of 1.5 million, but a mass exodus before ISIS took over and subsequent numerous departures have reduced the population to as small as 750,000, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The teens were captured and arrested in Nimrod and al-Salamiya, both of which are south of Mosul. Coalition forces have been moving steadily northward, moving town to town and city to city in an effort to cut off Mosul from logistical support.
In addition to the beheadings of the teens, ISIS also executed another 33 civilians in the nearby Qayyara district. According to the AhlulBayt News Agency, the movement of Iraqi forces toward Mosul has caused ISIS to increase its draconian stranglehold on the population it still controls.
Amin Shekhani, a Kurdish officer in the Iraqi army’s Brigade 91, confirmed for the news agency on July 20 that ISIS executed 33 civilians in Jadha village near Qayyara district, accusing them of spying and collaborating with the oncoming Iraqi military forces. Shekhani said the mass execution followed the liberation of the nearby village Usaija on July 19. Although it is unclear how the executions were carried out (the details were not provided), the AhlulBayt News Agency article was accompanied by a photo of a beheading.
It should be pointed out that under Islamic State’s strict rules, freedom of movement is highly suspect and often met with suspicion, accusations, arrests, and death. For instance, a family of three, including a 2-year-old girl, attempting to leave their ISIS-controlled hometown were captured crossing a mountain to get to a neighboring village. As reported by the Inquisitr, ISIS summarily executed them all, including the 2-year-old girl, by burning them alive.
But not all allegations of spying are immediate death sentences. Another AhlulBayt News Agency report on July 19 described the arrest and incarceration of 65 policemen from Nineveh. ISIS rounded up the 65 Nineveh policemen on July 15, according to an anonymous source, picking them up on both sides of the Tigris River in Mosul. The officers were accused of espionage and cooperating with Iraqi government forces. They were then transferred to various prisons in Nineveh.
Much of the atrocities being committed by ISIS for spying have been attributed to not only the strict enforcement of its code of Sharia law but also on what military experts believe is desperation as its territory shrinks under the increasing losses to the U.S.-backed coalition and Iraqi government forces in Iraq and the Russian-backed Syrian government forces attacking from the east.
Reports such as the teen beheadings are horrible enough, but some are more horrific for their shock value alone, like the beheadings of the four Raqqa football players carried out in front of children and the unthinkable execution of 25 Mosul civilians by dissolving their live bodies in a pool of nitric acid.
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