Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality

Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality


Many of the children welcomed the Iraqi troops and men shaved their beards in the streets. Beards were compulsory under Islamic State's brutal regime and not wearing one of sufficient length would mean punishment.

A teenager told me how his friends were lashed for not following its ultra-conservative Islamic rules.

But although most of the militants seem to have been defeated there is still resistance in this district and in other places.


Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality

As soldiers showed us an IS flag on the main road, we came under sniper fire. We had to take cover.

The problem is that IS is hiding among the civilian population. Every house, building and compound needs to be checked.

We entered one house with the troops. The family told me they had been trapped inside for weeks and they often ran out of food.


Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality

Dozens of men stood together in the local mosque as Iraqi special forces questioned them.

When I asked if any IS fighters remained in the area, they told me that most had disappeared - but they did not know where they had gone.


Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality

Gogjali is on the outskirts. More than a million civilians remain trapped inside Mosul. It is feared they will be used as human shields by Islamic State.

Making sure they are unharmed is the mantra for the Iraqi army as they attempt to liberate the city.

But this campaign will not be easy.

The Iraqi forces took us to the new frontline where they are facing strong resistance.


Mosul civilians reveal Islamic State brutality

Despite heavy airstrikes, the IS fighters were still firing mortars as the troops moved in.

The operation is now entering a new phase.

In the densely populated areas on the way to the heart of the city, which is the centre of Islamic State's power base, it will become much harder to avoid civilian casualties.



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