Mohammad Issa, a 38-year-old civilians said, “We are from Elires, east of Mosul. In our neighborhood there were many Shabak Kurds and Arabs residing. The Iraqi Army launched an operation to liberate our area from Daesh. For four days, there was a fierce fighting there were bombs and rockets flying all the time.”
He further said that as a rule, the jihadists carried out attacks in the night and the Iraqi Army during the day.
“Due to constant clashes, we did not leave the house at all. Daesh used civilians as human shields; they did not let us get away from the city. They wanted us to stay in the city and fight against the Iraqi Army,” Issa said.
Recalling his escape, Issa said that he got a chance to run when Daesh lost control over a few positions in the area.
“When we fled, the jihadists opened fire on us. In total we were about 200 people. As a result of the firing, 6 people died and 12 were injured.”
Kewser Eli, 73, said that Daesh militants did not allow anyone to leave and whoever tried to flee was gunned down.
Recalling the moment of escape, Eli said “there was total panic. Everyone was very scared.”
“When the airplanes launched air strikes on the places where we were being attacked, the attacks stopped and we managed to escape. Frankly, we did not even dream of escaping unharmed, because at any moment a mine or artillery shell could explode on our heads,” Eli said.
Mosul has been occupied by Daesh, which is outlawed in Russia and the United States among other nations, since 2014.
On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi launched the operation to retake the city. The operation began with 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and 30,000 Iraqi soldiers backed by the US-led anti-terror coalition.