Camp Ashraf, established in 1986 was home to members of the PMOI/MEK.
Camp Ashraf Bastion of Freedom
Camp Ashraf, established in 1986 was home to members of the PMOI/MEK. The Iranian people recognize Ashraf as the bastion of resistance for freedom. Its valiant persistence remains a source inspiration for the Iranian people.
Building the Camp
In 1986, it was an approximately 36 square kilometer piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. However, its residents soon developed Ashraf into a cultured, tidy, and productive city with all necessary facilities including a well-equipped hospital, power plant, and water purification plant with their sweat and blood. The PMOI/MEK pumped water from a Tigris offshoot 30 kilometers away from the camp and provided water to more than 20 thousand Iraqi inhabitants en route to Ashraf.
Invasion of Iraq
Following an agreement in May 2003, PMOI/MEK weapons were placed under Coalition forces control in return for the Coalition to protect Ashraf. On July 2, 2004, the United States recognized the residents at Ashraf as ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Breaching the commitment to protection
On February 20, 2009, in violation of its commitment, the U.S. transferred the protection of Ashraf to the Iraqi government led by al-Maliki who was a puppet of the mullahs’ regime and a trained diehard of the IRGC. Subsequently, the Iraqi government, at the behest of the mullahs’ regime, imposed a siege on the camp, even preventing access to proper medical services.
Military attacks on Ashraf
Camp Ashraf was the subject of deadly attacks on three occasions, July 2009, April 2011 and September 1, 2013 by Iraqi forces, which resulted in more than 100 deaths, seven taken hostage, scores injured, and extensive damages to property.
Massacre of 52 people and abduction of seven others
On September 1, 2013, an elite group of Iraqi forces in coordination with the IRGC’s Quds Force attacked Ashraf residents at dawn.
The assailants attacked the camp at 5:15 AM from various directions, and systematically hunted, shot, and killed any resident they could find, execution style, not sparing even those they found incapacitated at the infirmary. The massacre, destruction by explosives, and the kidnapping of seven residents continued until 7 AM. As a result of this criminal act, 52 defenseless residents were killed, some were while they were handcuffed or wounded in the clinic, and seven people, including six women, were taken hostage. After six years, there is no news of the hostages’ fate. During this attack, the assailants destroyed millions of dollars of the residents’ property with explosions and fires.
Forced eviction of the residents to Camp Liberty
Finally, the residents were involuntarily relocated to Camp Liberty, starting from February 2012, which lasted until September 2013. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention designated the camp as a detention center. At Camp Liberty in Baghdad, the residents faced missile and rocket attacks by Iran’s proxies while in a small camp surrounded by Iraqi forces. Several dozen were killed and more injured during the missile attacks.
Successful relocation of the residents to Albania
The Iranian regime wanted to disband and annihilate the residents at Camps Ashraf and Liberty. However, due to the untiring efforts of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, steadfastness of the PMOI/MEK members in Iraq, and the international support they received, the regime did not get what it wished for and the MEK relocated its members en masse to Albania to continue its presence in Ashraf 3 in opposition and resistance to religious dictatorship in Iran.
This epic stand for nearly 14 years (from early 2003 to September 2016) in the face of bombings, ground attacks, missiles, massacres, atrocities, and a medical siege, that ended with the death and maiming of hundreds of Ashraf residents, and immeasurable psychological tortures, represents another heroic chapter in the annals of the Iranian people’s century-long struggle for freedom.
The exhibition has devoted several displays to present the evidence and documents of this era, and to recreate a handful of scenes that take the viewer to moment of this heroic stand for freedom.