Residents fleeing Mosul recount abuse under ISIL rule

World Today

A large plume of smoke rises during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants as civilians walk toward Iraqi security forces after fleeing their homes on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, March 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Residents of Mosul are fleeing the city in overwhelming numbers as Iraqi forces push deeper into ISIL held territory. Iraqis who have escaped the fighting recount years of abuse and deprivation under ISIL rule.

CGTN’s Stephanie Freid filed this report.

Residents fleeing Mosul recount abuse under ISIL rule

As Iraqi forces push deeper into ISIL-held Mosul, residents of the city are fleeing in overwhelming numbers. Many are leaving ISIL rule for the first time since the militants overran the city in 2014. They recount harrowing experiences of torture and abuse.

Ibrahim was able to escape Mosul, but the scars of ISIL persecution are with him forever.

A hospital researcher and devout Muslim, he defied ISIL when they grabbed control of Mosul in 2014 by shaving his beard.

As punishment, they broke both of his arms and beat him with wire cables.

Iraqis fleeing Mosul tell similar stories of torture, executions and most recently starvation.

From this temporary location, the tens of thousands fleeing Mosul are taken to one of the 21 area camps run by NGO’s who predicted an internal refugee crisis from the military campaign onset in October.

“It could potentially be a huge, a huge, huge emergency,” said Bathoul Ahmed, a UNHCR spokesperson.

For Ibrahim and the tens of thousands of others like him who escaped ISIL’s clutches. the immediate emergency has passed.

But Mosul’s survivors remain haunted and traumatized by years of living under extremist rule.