Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Letters to Mosul

IWPR airdrops four million messages of support to city held hostage by Islamic State.
By IWPR
  • Volunteers collecting letters for Mosul from the public in central Baghdad on November 25, 2016. (Photo: IWPR)
    Volunteers collecting letters for Mosul from the public in central Baghdad on November 25, 2016. (Photo: IWPR)

IWPR has helped ordinary Iraqis send millions of letters of solidarity to the residents of Mosul as part of an unprecedented initiative supporting local voices and freedom of expression.

Islamic State (IS) has controlled Mosul for more than two years. Since early spring 2016, the residents of Iraq’s second largest city have also been living in an information blackout, risking execution if found watching TV, listening to the radio or using the internet.

The airdrop – which took place with Iraqi air force support on December 22, 2016 - provided Mosulis with tangible proof that there were millions of Iraqis outside the city sympathising with them.

According to reports from inside the city, IS were so threatened by the airdrop that its fighters spent the whole night collecting the letters from the streets.

The #LettersToMosul initiative is part of a long-running IWPR programme empowering youth groups in Iraq to play an important role in reconciliation, social cohesion and building a stable future.