With the majority of Eastern Mosul liberated from the grip of ISIS militants, men like Sadoun Dhanoun, 39, are attempting to restore a sense of stability and normalcy to the northern Iraqi city, which was one of the first towns to fall to extremists in early 2014. Dhanoun, as first reported by New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, was hired by a senior citizen group to paint over hateful ISIS' graffiti.
Writing in magenta tones, Dhanoun paints over verses like this, which urges violence against the kuffar, or infidel.
And the 39-year-old isn't just bringing a fresh coat of paint to his town, but he's also using the opportunity to counter past messages of hate with current messages of love. He visited an Internet cafe and Googled, "wise sayings."
He found a particular message that resonated with him: "In life, be like a cube of sugar, so that when you are gone you leave a sweet taste," the message read.
He said he found that specific saying compelling "because ISIS left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth."
Dhanoun proudly stood next to his masterpiece, elaborating that he has future plans to paint flowers as well. He said it'll be so pretty when he's done--bringing beauty to a once ransacked town.
Dhanoun may soon find his business services in high demand. Last Wednesday, Col. John Dorrian, the spokesperson for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said that the United States and coalition forces are "edging toward victory" in the campaign to defeat ISIS in and around Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq.
He said that Iraqi forces are making incremental progress on the western side of Mosul. Since the Battle for Mosul began in February 2017, Iraqi forces have cleared roughly 200 square miles of territory.