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Iran Press TV

3000 Iraqis flee Mosul to Kurdish-held areas in Syria

Iran Press TV

Thu May 19, 2016 6:21AM

More than 3,000 Iraqis have fled Mosul to a refugee camp on the Syrian side of the border over the last week as fighting intensifies to retake the city from Daesh militants.

Refugees arrived at the al-Hawl refugee camp in Hasakah Province after Iraqi forces forced Daesh terrorists to further retreat towards the Syrian border.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi army scored their latest victory against Daesh in the city of Rutba as they attempted to cut off the group's supply routes into Syria.

The Iraqi refugees, however, complained of being treated as "criminals" by the Kurdish-led administration that runs al-Hawl.

"I come here to save the lives of my kids," said a 36-year-old Iraqi refugee who spoke to the Middle East Eye online news portal under the pseudonym of Abu Sara'a for security reasons.

He also recounted the brutal life under the rule of Daesh.

"Daesh are killers and criminals. If you smoke, they kill you, if you wear anything they don't agree with they kill you," he said.

"Whoever is Daesh – forget about them and kill them - but leave us innocent people alone," he added.

The manager of the al-Hawl camp Ciwan Sido said the number of Iraqi refugees is expected to rise as more are still waiting to cross the border.

"We are helping now, but we have received no support from international aid organizations and everything - from protection, to food and water - is being provided by the local administration," he added.

He also said limited resources will make it difficult to distinguish Daesh supporters from genuine refugees.

"For example, right now we have 3,000 people, and maybe 50 people are with IS [Daesh], and will go to our cities and carry out suicide attacks," Sido said.

He said two Daesh suspects have already been arrested.

But Iraqi refugee Abu Saraa accused the Kurds of considering all the Arabs as Daesh terrorists.

"There is a problem between the Kurds and the Arabs. The Kurds say that all the Arabs are ISIS [Daesh] and this is another ... problem we need to solve."

Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh terrorists launched an offensive in June 2014 and took control of portions of Iraqi territory.

The militants have been committing heinous crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and others.



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