Shafaq News / Despite more than 8 years passing since the liberation of Al-Saadiyah district in Diyala from the grip of ISIS, many villagers have not returned to their residential areas. They continue to reside in makeshift neighborhoods, awaiting the initiation of reconstruction efforts to return to their devastated homes.
Ahmed Al-Salehi, a coordinator with a humanitarian reconstruction organization that previously operated in Diyala, notes that around 20 villages remain destroyed to varying extents, ranging from 50% to 90%, due to the presence of ISIS. These areas still lie in ruins and neglect, without witnessing any projects from the Reconstruction Fund, international organizations, or financial budgets.
Speaking to Shafaq News Agency, Al-Salehi adds, 'Despite 8 years passing since the liberation of Al-Saadiyah from ISIS, the destroyed villages are not prepared to receive their residents. Despite the displacement issue being officially closed in the district, many Al-Saadiyah locals continue to inhabit makeshift settlements within the district and Diyala.'
He believes that the 'security vacuums' in the abandoned villages 'can be exploited as hidden havens for those sought by the judiciary or for terrorist elements infiltrating from other regions and provinces. This could lead to a resurgence of terrorism, threats, and sudden attacks.'
The ISIS organization seized control of Al-Saadiyah district (60 km northeast of Baqubah) in June 2014, while security forces regained control of the district in November of the same year.
Thousands of families were displaced from areas around Al-Azim, Al-Saadiyah, Jalawla, north of Al-Muqdadiyah, east of Al-Mansuriyah in 2014 during the ISIS invasion and the subsequent liberation battles.