IS murders two families fleeing war-torn city

IS murders two families fleeing war-torn city
Islamic State group executed two families fleeing war-torn areas in Iraq's IS-held Anbar province to deter others from leaving as they continue to use civilians as human shields.
2 min read
02 December, 2015
Iraqi forces are on the outskirts of Ramadi, Iraq [Anadolu]

Islamic State group has executed several people and families who tried to flee from war-torn areas in Iraq's Anbar province to "instil fear in civilians" and deter them from leaving.

In the past few days, IS has executed two families who tried to flee Ramadi, the provincial capital of IS-held Anbar province.

A senior officer in Anbar police, Captain Hussein Mahmoud, said that he received information from inside Ramadi that IS executed two families that were trying to flee the city. He said that similar executions occurred in the Fallujah district and also at least eight cases in the Hit district of Anbar province.

Mahmoud added that all these horrific incidents occurred in the past five days "in order to intimidate civilians to prevent them from leaving and use them as human shields during attacks on Ramadi."

A local source inside Ramadi told al-Araby al-Jadeed that IS executed a man who had managed to "sneak out with his family and tried to reach the Iraqi security forces, in order to escape the tragic situation that the residents of Anbar are living." IS militants who were "deployed on the outskirts of Ramadi" killed the man and returned his family back, according to the source who preferred not to be named.

Iraq's military command told Ramadi's civilians on Monday to leave the city, a sign that an operation may soon be underway to retake the provincial capital.

The statement, broadcast on Iraqi state TV, said Ramadi families are requested to leave the city from its southern, Himaira area. No further instructions or details were given.

The head of Anbar command, Maj. Gen. Ismail Mahalawi, told al-Araby that there is only "a small number of IS elements inside Ramadi" and that the militants "had retreated from the eastern side of the city towards Sijariya" (east of Ramadi).

Mahalawi pointed out that around 80,000 civilians, including women and children, remain in the city, "which made our mission more difficult."

Security forces along with volunteers from the Anbar clans, with air support from the US-led international coalition, had launched a military operation in mid-July this year to liberate Anbar from IS control.

IS captured Ramadi in May, after government forces abandoned their posts. The city is located about 115 kilometres west of Baghdad.

Iraqis living in IS-controlled areas have found themselves stuck between a rock and hard place as IS has killed over 1,800 civilians in the past two months, while the US-led coalition's raids on populated city districts have killed many more.