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Report: ISIS Trying To Win the Hearts and Minds (of Sunnis) in Mosul

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is seeking to win over the residents of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, by offering them greater security and cheap power and water.

While many Iraqi families initially fled after the militant group and its allies took the city, reports from the ground indicate that some are returning as Mosul returns to a state of relative calm in comparison to the situation further south, where fears of a sectarian civil war continue to escalate.

ISIS has sought to win over Mosul residents by putting forward a number of popular initiatives, including offering cheap gas and water. The extremist movement’s “liberation” of prisons in areas it has occupied has also proved popular with local residents who believe many of the Sunni prisoners freed were unfairly detained.

ISIS fighters also removed unpopular concrete security barricades that had become a feature of Mosul’s roads in recent years and which had significantly lengthened commutes. Despite these populist measures, local and international media are reporting that it is only Sunni Arab residents who are returning to the city. . .

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