In June 2014, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured Mosul and quickly seized other large swathes of land across Ninewa Province in northwestern Iraq. While some families were able to flee, many of those who were unable to escape had their lives changed forever, as they were forced to live under ISIS’s brutal regime. This was particularly true for Iraqi children, as ISIS quickly implemented a series of violent and archaic changes throughout the school system. Most notably, female children were no longer permitted to attend school and, for male children, the curriculum was revised to align with ISIS’ ideology.
ISIS’ prolonged occupation of extensive territory in Ninewa, which in some cases spanned more than three years, resulted in an unprecedented levels of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance (UXO), landmines, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). ISIS used mass-produced, technologically-advanced IEDs to defend captured territory and target Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), as well as to booby-trap homes, public spaces, farm land, and infrastructure to discourage the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).