Iraqis Recall Fearful Life Under Isis In Mosul
People were living in constant fear, oppression and extreme hardships before fleeing Mosul in Iraq and arrived at the Hassan Sham refugee camp last month.
Those who were displaced by the offensive in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, recalled their state of being, while a military operation continues to drive the Islamic State (ISIS) militants out of the city.
The Hassan Sham camp, opened by the UN refugee agency early in November, has received thousands of internally displaced people since Iraqi forces launched their offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul.
While life remains tough for these displaced civilians, after living under the ISIS threat for over two years, they are somewhat grateful for being alive.
With ISIS taking control of Mosul in June 2014, the city has been turned into a place of literal and spiritual darkness.
The people at the camp described a life of harsh religious edicts, privation and constant fear that they could be killed by the militants at any given point in time.
Mahmoud Ahmed used to work as a mechanic in Mosul. ISIS accused him of being a spy, took him away and tortured him for two days.
"One day, they came with pliers and tried to take my teeth out. But they just broke my teeth. All the time they kept asking me what I was doing. I can't believe I'm still alive," Ahmed recalled.
To further instill fearful obedience, ISIS forced people to watch as they hacked off hands and beheaded or stoned offenders.
Saidiq Muhamed Sala, the camp director, said many refugees have been traumatized.
"They have been traumatized, so the problem here is the psychological problem. These people have seen the effects of ISIS, the slaughtering and the killing will have a really long-term effect on the psychology and the mentality of these people, especially children. We have seen a lot of children playing here, and they create a man out of the mud, and then they slaughter the man," he said.
After enduring all the hardships for such a long time, some of the displaced are now having to deal with the added burden of being separated from their families.
According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 100,000 people have fled Mosul over the past two months.