‘Too Scary to Take a Step’: Refugees Escape Bloody, Booby-Trapped Mosul

Iraqi government forces, assisted by Shia militias, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and air support from the US-led coalition, managed to liberate eastern Mosul in January, but Daesh control of the area west of Tigris River proved tougher to break.

On Friday, it was reported that the battle between Daesh terrorists and government forces has restarted on both sides of the Tigris, particularly in the quarters of as-Shahuan and al-Qyliath in the Old Town area.

According to the UN, approximately 900,000 have fled Mosul since the fighting began, and the cost of reconstructing its basic infrastructure will reach more than $1 billion.

On Monday, a RIA Novosti correspondent observed hundreds of refugees who had gathered at the An-Nasr crossing out of Mosul. Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint were checking people’s identities against a list of those wanted by security forces before sending them on to nearby refugee camps.

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“In the neighborhood where we lived, there is nothing left: no people, no homes. There is only the smell of death and blood, the sound of shelling and whistling of bullets. It’s scary to even take a step, because there are explosives almost everywhere,” she said.

An older woman named Im Rasul told the reporter that terrorists had blown up her home when she was with children in the basement. They eventually escaped after staying there for two days.

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“This is a difficult situation, there is still shooting and explosions. There aren’t any markets or jobs, we just wait every day for help, that’s all. There is no life,” she said.

“Refugees who arrive at the An-Nasr Bridge are brought to the Abravi hotel and to the inspection point at the Neinawa hotel, where the lists people of wanted by security services are located,” a soldier explained.

“These measures have been taken for the sake of the journalists’ safety, because the de-mining process and search for bombs is still ongoing,” spokesman for Iraqi military command Mohammed Al-Baydani said.

As the soldiers carefully searched the belongings of the refugees, the sound of bombs could be heard and a convoy of combat vehicles of the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) rolled across the bridge heading for the historical part of Mosul. 

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Combat vehicles belonging to the US-led international anti-Daesh coalition have also arrived in Mosul, including those with Austrian markings, the correspondent reported.

“This is a limited contingent of advisers from the international coalition who are helping our military. They are not present at the front line and aren’t participating in battles. Among the contingent are military doctors, who work with the anti-terrorism unit,” the Iraqi officer explained.


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