Mosul – Hundreds of Islamic State (ISIS) militants have escaped from Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate, taking the Ba’aj road to Syria. Officials and military officers reported on Tuesday that civilians accompanied the jihadists as the fled west, ahead of advancing Kurdish and Iraqi columns.
Kurdish Peshmerga commander Qassim Shesho confirmed that a large number of ISIS jihadists have fled Mosul’s countryside through the Ba’aj road.
“Yes, there were [many] cars going from Ba’aj to Syria. Maybe they were civilians, not Daesh,” another Kurdish official said, employing an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The Ba’aj road rarely appears on maps. It is an unofficial roadway created by ISIS, connecting Mosul city in northern Iraq to Raqqa city in central Syria –the group’s two de facto capitals.
On Saturday, dozens of ISIS jihadists arrived in the Syrian border town of Margada along with their families. The jihadists came from positions in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate, which have been evacuated.
Local sources told ARA News that more than 90 ISIS militant had made the journey in a staggered convoy. Eyewitnesses reported that the militants were accompanied by at least 25 civilian families, who were reportedly their relatives.
Also on Saturday, several ISIS military vehicles passed through al-Qa’im crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The vehicles continued on to al-Bukamal city in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate.
“The vehicles crossed the border in the early morning on Saturday, carrying weapons and dozens of ISIS fighters,” local media activist Ahmed Hamwi told ARA News.
Kurdish Peshmerga officers told ARA News that there are currently no plans to push into southern Sinjar in order to cut the road between Raqqa and Mosul.
Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh & Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News