The New Masters of the Market: Syrian Traders Flock to ISIS’ Mosul For Iraqi Profits
The city of Mosul had turned its back to the other Iraqi cities as of the day it fell under the control of Daash, but it had opened its arms for the neighboring Syrian cities with which it shares the same fate because Mosul as well as those cities are all parts of the so-called “Islamic state”.
Certain streets in Mosul now ring with the cries of Syrian traders. Locals in the Wadi Hajar neighbourhood in the city, which has been under the control of the extremist group known as the Islamic State since last June, are used to traders and street vendors touring their streets in cars or with trolleys and using loudspeakers to advertise their goods.
Ever since the city was taken over by the Islamic State, or IS, group Mosul has been increasingly cut off from Iraq. Instead the roads to the Syrian territories that the IS group controls have opened up. And now traders like the 45-year-old Syrian who wished to be known as Abu Staif have become well-known regulars in Mosul.
As soon as local women who want to shop hear him calling, the heavily veiled ladies surround his old Hyundai like black-faced bees around honey. The car has a sign that says “Syria – Homs” on it and its filled with kitchen and cleaning utensils and products like detergents.
Selling goods like this – on the streets – was very popular in Iraq between 1991 and 2003, when the country under Saddam Hussein was heavily sanctioned. Now once again merchants have returned to trade on the streets although this time they are mostly Syrian, rather than Iraqi.