$500: The price Iraqi civilians pay ISIL for safe exit

Militants extort around $500 from civilians who wish to escape Hawija

$500: The price Iraqi civilians pay ISIL for safe exit

World Bulletin / News Desk

Civilians in the ISIL-held Hawija district in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk province have been paying the terrorist group to allow them escape from the district, a Kurdish peshmerga official said. 

“According to the information we received from escapees, militants in some areas let the people pass to safe regions after taking $500 to $1,000 per person,” Col. Tarik Ahmed Jaf told Anadolu Agency. 

He, however, said that paying the terrorist group “does not mean salvation”. 

“[This is because] the militants direct the citizens to take roads planted with landmines,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, many people who paid and left the district lost their lives by landmines that were planted by the terrorist group,” Jaf said. 

According to Kurdish officer, the road from Hawija to the peshmerga-controlled Daquq district is littered with shredded bodies of civilians, who were shattered by landmines. 

An internally displaced citizen who managed to flee Hawija and sought refuge at a peshmerga position said “we spoke with the militant by phone to leave Hawija”. 

“The militant, who was masked, came in and showed us the route out for $300 per person,” he told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to fears of reprisal. 

The Iraqi refugee said that they were living in bad conditions and under tight restrictions by Daesh militants in Hawija. 

Fathiya Omar, a woman who fled Hawija with a group of people after paying $250 each, said they were exposed to militants’ fire at some points while escaping. 

In mid-2014, ISIL captured Mosul -- Iraq’s second largest city -- along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions. 

Recent months have seen the Iraqi army -- backed by a 60-nation coalition led by the U.S. -- retake much territory. Nevertheless, Daesh remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul. 

Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have recently captured a number of areas on the outskirts of Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ekim 2016, 16:22
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