VIDEO: Hundreds of Iraqi Civilians Stranded after Fleeing ISIS Territory in Kirkuk

Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:50:56

Hundreds of Iraqi civilians are suffering harsh living conditions after they fled the Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) territory in northeastern city of Kirkuk, as nearby refugee camps have no room to hold them.

The civilians have been stranded at the front line between ISIS militants and Peshmerga forces, northwest of Kirkuk.

They have managed to flee ISIS territory but are yet to find safety, with all the refugee camps in the area being full.

Families with children are enduring the harshest of conditions. They have been left under the heat with no food, no water and no shelter. Many of the young children have succumbed to the circumstances, some were even seen unconscious.

Peshmerga soldiers distributed some necessities such as milk for children, some even tried to comfort babies, yet it is not enough for them to survive. Nevertheless the civilians say turning back is not an option, that anything is better than the terror of ISIS.

“Of course we will stay here, here is better than there, now if I went back there I will be beheaded, they will kill me immediately. They will say that I escaped and they will chop my head off straight away,” said Taha Hussein Awad, a stranded civilian.

The situation is also troubling for Peshmerga soldiers, as ISIS militants are known to try and hide amongst fleeing civilians, making security also a major concern.

“We have arrested so many of them in cases like this. Some of them have entered posing as internally displaced people, and they have hid TNT inside soap, but they were detected. They also tried to hide SIM cards inside the heels of shoes,” said Kamal Kirkuki, the Peshmerga commander of Northwest Kirkuk Frontline.

With their fate remaining in uncertainty, many of the stranded civilians hope the Kurdistan Regional Government or an international NGO will come and rescue them.

S/SH 11

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