The bodies of dozens of civilians killed in the past two days while fleeing a Daesh-held neighborhood in Mosul lay on Saturday in a street close to the frontline with Iraqi armed forces, a report said.
The dead included men, women and children. Bags in which they had carried their belongings were strewn around the road leading out of the Zanjili district, one of three still in the hands of Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) in Mosul.
“Over the past two days ISIS has been shooting people escaping this area,” said Dave Eubank from the Free Burma Rangers relief association, speaking from a building overlooking the frontline in Zanjili.
“I saw over 50 dead bodies yesterday, we worked with the Americans to get smoke and an Iraqi tank, and followed behind them and we rescued one little girl and one man,” he told Reuters. “But there are still more.”
Hundreds of others managed to reach the government lines, some wounded and some carrying apparently dead bodies in blankets, crying and shouting. A man carried an unconscious child.
From a building close to the spot where the civilians were killed, a man could be seen hiding behind a wall, trying to find a way out with the help of an Iraqi soldier who came to the rescue.
Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on May 27 to capture the remaining Daesh-held enclave in the western side of the city, where about 200,000 people are trapped in harrowing conditions.
The Mosul offensive started in October with support of the country’s popular forces. It has taken much longer than expected.
The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the terrorist group in Iraq.