In a triumph of hope over despair, the long ordeal of the 46 nurses stranded in the violence-torn Iraq has finally ended. The nurses have been freed from the clutches of militants in the oil-rich Persian Gulf state, and are expected to return home July 5. This message brought a sigh of relief for entire nation as country’s daughters were boarding flight back to India.
“I can confirm to you that nurses were freed,” Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, told reporters in Delhi July 4. All easy it seems to read , is actually the result of strategic plan & battlefield heroics shown by one man & his team, the martyr General Soleimani, who was the commander in chief of Iranian Revolutionary Guards at that time and was co-ordinating operations against ISIS millitants alongside Iraqi Shia militia Hashd Al Shabi.
The entire nation might had been mourning the death of its citizens at the hands of the ISIS millitants but few can understand what they must have gone through as acutely as Jose, a nurse rescued from Tikrit belonging to Kerala. She was, after all, one of the 46 Indian nurses rescued from territories held by the Islamic State after 23 days of captivity in 2014.
The extremists had abducted the nurses (45 Keralites and one Tamil) and the workers around the same time that year. While the nurses were taken hostage after an attack on a Tikrit hospital, the workers were abducted from a construction site in Mosul.
As terror groups in Syria began massacring innocent civilians, General Soleimani mobilised forces to protect the Syrian people. He along with his Quds force soldiers was instrumental in fight against ISIS in Syria, Iraq and adjoining areas. A master war strategist General Soleimani provided technical assistance in fighting terror forces alongside helping Iraqi forces to built logistics and recruitment of manpower to fight militants under a fatwa issued by Shia religious authority of Iraq Syed Al Sistani.
Remembering the horrific scenes of battlefield, one of the rescued nurse on condition of anonymity told Medogle , that were holed up for more than a week in Tikrit, which had saw fierce fighting as Iraqi troops battle to regain control of the city from the insurgent group ISIS.
Next day , we were forced to board two buses and were taken to Mosul. We were kept at a hospital there. The day after we were freed after diplomatic efforts by Kerala CM & India’s external affairs ministry alongside war heroics by Iraqi and independent mobilisation forces which at that time was being led by Martyr Soleimani.
Kerala which accounts for large proportion of paramedical support to middle east countries every year, was worst affected during the ISIS progression in Iraq and Syria. Dr D P Singh, a practising doctor based in Lucknow says ” The Indian health community will never forget the unconditional support shown by Martyr Soleimani and his forces who were instrumental in protecting our health workers, had he not been actively participating , ground situation would had been entirely different.
Remembering him on his martyrdom anniversary is the least we could offer to the slain general “.
Talking to medogle, Dr Garima Mishra from District Hospital, Ayodhya shares her views and says ” Health manpower is an asset for any country and contributes to its development. We could not imagine what would had happened if the 46 nurses had not been rescued timely from Tikrit & Mosul and a mere formal thankyou could never oblige for the services offered by late General. Our deepest condolences to Iranian nation and martyrs family of both soldiers who became the medium of bringing back India’s daughters.
The release of Indian nurses had brought a sigh of relief to India’s foreign office and various government agencies which had been working tirelessly to release all the 85 nationals trapped in the conflict zone in Iraq. “It’s been a day of dramatic developments. We were full of endless hope. And it is hope that has triumphed,” said the foreign ministry spokesman.
About author –
> Dr Faiz Abbas is a practising doctor based in Lucknow, India. He works on biomedical research, digital health interventions and public health. Writer is also convenor of Ahlulbayt Students’ Network India.