Iraqi family describes life in ISIL-held enclave in Mosul

World Today

Iraqi forces are facing fierce resistance from ISIL in Mosul’s Old City. While up to 100,000 civilians may be trapped by the fighting.

Iraq’s defense ministry said they’re trying to open escape corridors for those civilians.

CGTN’s Tony Cheng spoke to one family who they described the terrible conditions there.

Heavy armor moved towards the front line as the security forces start the final offensive against ISIL’s occupation of Mosul.

“The situation is unfolding according to plan but as the ISIL gangsters are defeated, they have started to use new measures and methods, like using civilians to protect themselves. Therefore the priority now for the Iraqi forces is to open safe corridors, more than to advance on the ground. The main thing is to save the people from ISIL,” said Brigadier General Mohammed Al-Khodari, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

But what are conditions like behind the front lines? We spoke to one family trapped a few blocks from the frontline and within five hundred meters of the Al Nuri mosque.

For obvious reasons we can’t reveal their names or exact location but they say the situation is desperate. “We don’t have food, we don’t have water, the only water we have to drink is from the sewers. It’s making us all sick,’ the family said.

The conversation took place late at night, the only time when it is safe to talk. To be caught with a phone is a death sentence.

The siege of the Old City has cut off supplies to the fighters but they have reserves. The real impact is now being felt on the civilian population. “Pills, medicine, milk, it’s all gone. The kids are dying. I buried a girl. She died of starvation, and I had to put her body in the trash. We don’t even have graves,” the family added.

Meanwhile the assault continued, with huge areas of the city laid to waste. The security forces know that there are civilians on their way but now more than ever time is of the essence.

But the family left us with one message. More than anything, they fear the rockets and mortars that are now rained down on their heads.