In what is hoped to be the final assault in the battle to retake the city of Mosul from Daesh militants, civilians have begun fleeing the city as Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters advanced.
That includes the key target of Makhmur which lies around 70 kilometres southeast of Mosul. After bitter battles it was one of about eight villages which were retaken after they had been seized by Daesh.
Thousands of Iraqi families have fled to the village from Mosul desperate to escape the rule of Daesh. They are being housed in a sports complex. It was opened up as there are no camps to house them.
“ISIL used strong methods of repression on us. They were very brutal, told us we had to have beards, we were not allowed to smoke and had to wear long clothes like them. They imposed an extreme life style on us, practicing racial discrimination. They are terrorists beyond description,” one man told Euronews, declining to give his name
For those who dared to disagree there was always the ultimate threat of executions. No one felt safe in their own homes for even there Daesh imposed their beliefs.
“Most of the time we stayed in our own homes. We were afraid to speak. They controlled every single thing in our life. They made women cover their faces completely, the men had to wear long clothes like them and have a beard. Even if you had a problem inside your own house with your own family they would intervene,” explained one woman.
“For more than two years these people have lived under the rule of ISIL [Daesh] like prisoners and now they have ended up here displaced and homeless. They are looking for a safe haven to which they can bring the rest of their families who are still alive,” said Euronews correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim in Makhmur.