Omer al – Mousawy
Hassam Sham camp, in Erbil province, has taken in almost 2,000 IDPs from Mosul within last week alone.
Camp manager Rizgar Obaid, told Yalla: “On the night of December 27, the camp received close to a thousand IDPs from different areas of Mosul, including Karama, Adan, Intisar, Salam, Samah and Sumer. A thousand more arrived the next day.”
Upon their arrival, camp officials were quick to provide the escaped Moslawis with food and shelter, and speaking about the camp’s ability to accommodate its highest influx of IDPs so far, Obaid said: “Our teams are working around the clock to accommodate the overwhelming influx.”
As well as the hundreds of new arrivals, Yalla saw labourers working tirelessly to construct new blocks of tents for the IDPs as they queued for essential supplies of water, food and blankets. Scores more lined up at the gates, waiting to enter the camp.
One IDP revealed: “We were all starving. The first thing the camp staff did was to give us some snacks.”
One meal, however, was not enough to alleviate the feelings of fear and exhaustion evident on everyone’s faces, especially those of the children.
Speaking about how they escaped from ISIS, the IDP told Yalla: “We agreed, with other families, to escape overnight. We started moving soon after 7 o’clock in the evening, and when the ISIL militants started to randomly fire at us, we ran.
“The roads were muddy, and the women and children were crying in fear as we ran, but we could not dare to stop or look back. We know some of us got hit, but we don’t know what happened to them.”
Ahmed, from Sumer, cried as he described seeing two people beaten to death by ISIL fighters who had caught them fleeing.
But Ahmed and those with him did not give up. They continued to run, and even avoided an ISIL sniper. They eventually reached Hassan Sham after four brutal hours.
Shaima escaped from Intisar: “When all the families arrived at the army check point it looked like doomsday.
“We were welcomed by the army, and they gave us food,” she added.
According to Shaima, the army provided them with food and water, before running a computer check on their IDs and transferring them to the camp.
Sadly, not all who attempted to escape from ISIL survived. One man said that he saw a woman and her son shot at by ISIS snipers as they ran down an ally. The mother was shot dead, but her son made it to the camp, barely standing.