‘Anyone who flees is shot dead’: Mosul locals trapped as ISIS digs in for fight

The Guardian reports: As Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters closed in on Mosul, its residents cowered in their homes and braced for what is likely to be an gruelling street battle.

“Everyone is staying at home because we don’t know what else to do. Daesh [another name for Islamic State] are mostly moving around on motorbike and have small and heavy guns. The planes started bombing Mosul around 1am today and they are in the sky constantly and occasionally striking targets,” Abu Mohammed, a 35-year-old from the east side of the city told the Guardian.

Mohammed is not his real name. He is a Shia who has survived the past two years under Islamic State (Isis) control by passing himself off as Sunni.

He said he thought the airstrikes were mostly precisely targeted on Isis but added: “Daesh are moving into civilian houses and mixing with the population. For example Daesh has placed a large depot of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in a house next to my cousin’s house. I begged him to leave his house and bring his family to stay with me as the house could be targeted by coalition. He refused and said: ‘Whatever destiny brings.’”

“People have had enough in Mosul, the majority want Daesh to go as soon as possible and would like to see the Iraqi army and peshmerga enter the city,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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