The out pour of desperate escapees from western Mosul continues. As hundreds of citizens a day desperately find their way to safety.
One man flees on a small wooden boat with the corpse of his wife. Others carry what little belonging they could manage along with their sickly and elderly relatives and some with young children. Their destinations are unknown, however, they all share a common motivation and that is to be as far away from ISIS militants and their torture as possible.
They escape using old wooden boats used previously for fishing, now seen as a vital mode of transportation as they cross over the Tigris river into the eastern side of Mosul. Some are now free but await the aid and protection that was promised to them by the government. As one man says, “we came and the five bridges were meant to be fully ready. They were to be set up within three hours. But where are the bridges? We have been here for a day or two and have not been able to escape from this hell”.
Through all of this suffering, it is the children that have been through the most and are the ones who are heralded as champions for their courage and resilience over the entire period of this stressful and oppressive time.
In spite of the immediate stagnation faced by those newly escaped Moslawis, this period of limbo is better then what they previously had to face. Their aim now is to address their, in some cases, urgent medical needs as well as reuniting with other family members who may have found themselves in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.
For family members still trapped in Mosul, it is a waiting game. Knowing there is nothing they can do, those out of the clutches of ISIS can only wait and pray their loved ones make it out alive.
What is for certain however, is that Iraqi forces are doing all they can to turn their prayers into reality, with the deadline of complete liberation of Mosul being set at the end of May, citizens have only a few more weeks to wait to potentially be reunited with friends and family.