Mosul – Displaced civilians in liberated areas have become ISIS’ main target now that battles have intensified in the center of Mosul’s Old City. ISIS militants have resorted to shelling areas recaptured by Iraqi forces in western Mosul, hitting civilians fleeing the fighting.
Heavy mortar fire killed at least one civilian and wounded dozens in Mosul Jadida and Rifak districts – areas that the militants had recently lost to Federal Police and Rapid Response brigades.
Chief of the Iraqi Federal Police Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that terrorists are shelling liberated, populated areas to distract the troops. He also confirmed that they have injured dozens.
According to Colonel Abdul Amir al-Muhammadawi, from the Iraqi Rapid Response Division, the civilians leaving their areas are being shelled and sniped by ISIS militants. He added that medical outposts have been deployed on the roads expected to be taken by civilians.
He explained to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the medical stations provide first aid assistance to the wounded and elderly and then transfer them to the field hospital for treatment.
Citizen Haifaa al-Hamdani told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that they used to hide under the stairs to avoid being shot. Haifa was in her house when they were shelled by ISIS terrorists causing her son’s injury. He was transferred to the hospital for treatment.
Areas under ISIS control are suffering from severe humanitarian situations with lack of food and supplies. Situations are getting worse now that reinforcements have been stopped and citizens who are still inside are afraid of leaving.
Another citizen, Shaaban Tarek, said that dozens have been killed and others injured with most of their homes destroyed during ISIS’ random shelling. He pointed out that the terrorist organization relies mostly on locally made bombs in its attacks.
Tarek told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper during a phone call that about ten children die each day due to hunger and lack of supplies. In addition, ISIS prevents civilians from entering the hospital because it is for its militants exclusively.
Describing how hard their living situations are, Tarek said they only get to eat once a day and mainly their meal consists of water and dry bread. He also reported that drinking water has been cut off in areas west of Mosul since over than two months and people are relying on wells for water supply.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) issued a statement on Wednesday saying that its teams in and around Mosul have received more than 1,800 patients in need of urgent or lifesaving care in the last two months.
The organization added that of the 1,800, – 1,500 – needed treatment for conflict-related trauma and the teams have since assisted 100 births and performed 80 caesareans.
Isabelle Defourny, MSF director of operations said that: “The need for emergency medical care has risen drastically. We have teams working around the clock treating men, women and children injured by bullets, blasts and shells. Other life-threatening emergencies also need a rapid medical response, such as for pregnant women in need of a caesarean.”
Defourny stressed that it is urgent that malnutrition treatment be provided to meet the needs, and that those displaced from western Mosul receive adequate food aid when they arrive.