The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Iraq scouts make comeback in former IS bastion Mosul Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraq scouts make comeback in former IS bastion Mosul

Iraq joined the World Organisation of the Scout Movement in 1914 [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
More than 200 male and female scout leaders from across Iraq recently converged on Mosul, months after its liberation from Islamic State militants.
Hundreds of Iraqi scouts are making a symbolic comeback in Mosul after a three-year absence from the city that used to serve as the Islamic State militant group's capital in the country.

With white shirts and neckerchiefs, more than 200 male and female scout leaders from across Iraq recently converged on the city that was devastated by three years of militant rule and nine months of heavy urban warfare.

It was "a message to Iraq and the world: The scouts of Mosul and Iraq are back," Mohammed Ibrahim, head of scout activities in Mosul, told AFP.

The rally took place at Mosul's scout camp set in the heart of a wooded area popular with locals for family outings on Fridays, the weekly day of rest in Iraq.

Iraq was one of the first Arab countries to join the World Organisation of the Scout Movement in 1914 when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

But in 1999, the world scout body evicted the Iraqi chapter because it was allegedly being used by former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime for military training.

But the Iraqi scouts kept operating.

In 2017, they were readmitted into the international scouting world and have since grown to 25,000 members across the country.

'Lend a hand with reconstruction'

Loudspeakers blasted nationalist songs at full volume as children from local schools paraded in traditional Iraqi dress at the Mosul rally. 

Some scouts returned to help build an activities centre for young scouts in the area for the first time in more than 15 years – after the US-led invasion, the fall of Saddam, years of sectarian violence, the extremist occupation of nearly a third of the country and its subsequent recapture by Iraqi forces.

The rally also provided a space for leaders and organisers from across the country to network and discuss future projects.

"We will organise camps in Mosul to lend a hand with its reconstruction," said Ali Latif, a 34-year-old scout leader from Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic northern province.

The Islamic State group's de facto Iraqi capital, Mosul, fell in July after an intense campaign to weed the group out of the city.

Areas previously controlled by the group were devastated as a result of the years-long military efforts

About 3.2 million people are displaced due to the campaign to recapture territory, according to the UN. Meanwhile, $88.2 billion is needed for reconstruction, according to Iraq's planning minister. A recent donors' conference saw just $30 billion pledged.

Agencies contributed to this report

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More