The Guardian reports: Their relief was palpable. Old men who had walked through the desert, families who arrived in clapped-out cars, and black-veiled women and girls: all were coming straight from the clutches of Islamic State (Isis).
The war’s most recent refugees queued on Tuesday at a checkpoint in the town of Khnash, around 14 miles from Mosul, where they spoke of the terror and confusion they had run from only hours before.
“It’s not good at all,” said a man from the nearby town of Adla, as he walked his elderly mother down a dusty hillside. He spoke of a counteroffensive staged there by the terrorist group. “The Iraqi army arrived yesterday and took the town, and today Isis came back and the army ran away. We weren’t expecting this.”
On its second day, the battle to retake Mosul from Isis, which has been described as the battle that will either reunite Iraq or divide it for good, settled into a grind. The opening clashes on Monday had seen around 23 villages and hamlets taken by both Iraqi and Kurdish forces, with both sides claiming that their early gains had exceeded expectations. [Continue reading…]