An Iraqi child waits with her family to get into a temporary displacement camp for Iraqis caught-up in the fighting in and around the city of Mosul on June 26, 2014 in Khazair, Iraq. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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ERBIL – As the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army troops intensified their attacks on headquarters of the Islamic State group (ISIS) in a bid to regain the northwestern city of Mosul, thousands of displaced civilians who took shelter in Iraqi Kurdistan look forward to returning home.
Speaking to ARA News in Erbil, Ahmed Qassim, a 46-year-old Iraqi man who was displaced from Mosul along with his wife and four children, said: “We have suffered enough of displacement over the past two years due to the ISIS-led invasion of our hometown.”
“We hope the Peshmerga and Iraqi army forces would regain control of Mosul soon so that we could return home,” Qassim said. “Everyday we hear the heart-breaking news about the atrocities of those terrorists against the peaceful people of Mosul.”
“Families who couldn’t escape at the beginning of ISIS’s invasion are now stranded in the city, suffering horrible crimes at the hands of this barbaric group,” he added.
Umayma Abdulbaqi, 26, escaped Mosul in the summer of 2014 subsequent to ISIS control over her hometown.
“I was forced to quit my studies at the University of Mosul to flee with my family from the city days after ISIS invaded it. Since then, we have been moving from camp to camp looking for shelter here in the Kurdistan Region.”
“We are grateful to the Kurds for hosting us in such difficult circumstances, hoping to have our city liberated from ISIS terrorists so that we can go back and start over,” she told ARA News.
“The Iraqi people have never enjoyed peace since the war of 2003, which has produced terrorist organizations like ISIS,” she concluded.
Alaa Hamid, 32, has left Mosul with his mother and two younger sisters after ISIS militants executed his father. They took shelter in Duhok city of Iraqi Kurdistan, waiting for an opportunity to return home.
“The recent gains by the Peshmerga forces against ISIS in Sinjar (Shingal) area and the ongoing progress by the Iraqi army against the terror group in Anbar province have given a glimpse of hope to the displaced people of Mosul,” Hamid told ARA News.
“Liberating Mosul would help ending the misery of thousands of people, whether those who are stranded inside the city witnessing daily atrocities by ISIS terrorists or those who have been displaced from their homes for years,” he concluded.
Backed by the U.S.-led coalition’s air cover, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army troops have recently intensified anti-ISIS operations in the vicinity of Mosul, aiming at liberating the city from the fist of the jihadis.
Reporting by: Ali Issa
Source: ARA News