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Iraqi residents denied return to town seized from IS

Some four months after being retaken from Islamic State fighters, Jalawla, in the Kurdistan region, remains uninhabited and divided among peshmerga, Shiite militias and Asayish, with residents awaiting resolution of who will ultimately control it.
Members of the Kurdish security forces take part in an intensive security deployment  in Jalawla, Diyala province December 1, 2014.  The blood of two militants killed during Islamic State's rout in the Iraqi town of Jalawla has yet to be washed away, but a turf war is already brewing between Kurdish and Shi'ite forces that jointly drove the insurgents out. The recapture of disputed territory and towns such as Jalawla is reopening rivalries over the boundary between areas of Kurdish control and those adminis

JALAWLA, Iraq — Layers of graffiti snake across walls flanking blasted windows, and charred storefront signs and mangled, cheap plastic chairs litter the streets of Jalawla. The Shiite rallying cry “Ya Zahra” covers the only remaining wall of a destroyed home, while in another area the Shiite-Sunni rivalry is evident in the words “Ya Ali” written in white and “Ya Omar” written over it in black, respectively invoking the two sects' beliefs about who should have inherited leadership of the Muslim community from the Prophet Muhammad. Zahra, also known as Fatima, had been Ali's wife and Muhammad's daughter.

Jalawla remained uninhabited some four months after peshmerga gained control of it in late November 2014. Most of its residents are said to have moved to camps for internally displaced persons in neighboring towns while awaiting the chance to return. Others have gone to live in Islamic State (IS) territory. In 2003, Jalawla had been home to an estimated 30,000 people. 

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