The Daesh terrorist group has killed scores of civilians trying to flee Mosul in the past days as Iraqi government forces press ahead with a military operation to liberate the northern city, witnesses say.
A resident told Reuters that he had found the mutilated body of a relative hanged from an electricity pole in the Tenek district along with three other young men who were trying to flee.
“Their appearance was shocking. We weren’t able to get them down and they have been there for two days,” said the relative, who asked not to be named.
The Kurdistan Region Security Council also said the terrorists killed about 140 people on Monday and Tuesday.
More than 40 civilians were also killed in Mosul’s Old City when the militants prevented them from fleeing the area, said a resident of the Farouq district where the symbolic Nuri mosque lies.
Daesh also killed a family of six, including an elderly woman in the Old City’s Shahwan district for trying to escape, a resident of the Old City’s Shahwan district said.
Meanwhile, a woman from the Yarmouk district recounted how she narrowly escaped death along with her husband and children after the militants stopped their escape bid. She added that they were trying to flee among a group of about 30 people.
“They took our bags thinking there was gold or money in them and as they were busy checking the contents, we fled through the houses taking advantage of the pitch darkness,” said the woman, who is now in an area under the control of the security forces.
“I fear those (families) who stayed in Daesh’s grip met a terrible fate,” she added.
Mosul is considered the last urban stronghold of the Daesh terror group in Iraq.
Iraqi forces took full control of Mosul’s eastern part on January 23.
Since February 19, Iraqi government troops and fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – have been involved in a new offensive to liberate the western half of the city.
As a strategy to hold onto Mosul, Daesh has been using civilians as human shields to slow Iraqi army advances.
According to government sources, at least 355,000 people have so far managed to flee the city since operations to liberate it from Daesh began. The UN said some 400,000 still remain trapped in the Old City by the terrorists.