SHAFAQNA – Aid groups providing assistance to displaced families fleeing fighting between Iraqi forces and Daesh in the western side of Mosul say terrified parents drug their children with sedatives or tape their mouths to avoid discovery as they try to escape.
“Families often leave at night and in the early hours of the morning and have to walk with their children. The kids get tired and if they cry it’s very difficult,” Hala Jaber of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
She added, “Families are sometimes putting duct tape on their children’s mouths or even giving them Valium or tranquilizers just to keep them quiet so that they are not found out by Daesh and captured or shot.”
Jaber said Iraqi children in Mosul have seen and been through the things that are beyond what any human being should see, adding, “They’ve witnessed hands being cut off, beheadings and killings. A lot of them are in shock.”
Meanwhile, Amy Christian, a spokeswoman for the UK-based international charity, Oxfam, in Iraq, said civilians reaching reception centers for refugees are “very traumatized, hungry, dehydrated and completely exhausted.”
Some had given their children sedatives to protect them against terror as they fled, she noted.
“My family gave drugs to the young children,” teenager Noor Muhammed told Oxfam after escaping Mosul with 27 other people.
“Parents gave sleeping medicine to their children so they wouldn’t be horrified by the fighting, and when they ran at night under the darkness, they wouldn’t be found because of the children,” Muhammed said in a statement provided by Oxfam.
Iraqi forces make fresh gains in, around Mosul
Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces have made more territorial gains in Mosul as they continue their joint operations with fighters from Popular Mobilization Units against Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Thursday that Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces had taken over Yabasat district in western Mosul and raised the Iraqi flag over several buildings there.
Soldiers from the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi army also liberated Al Yassin and Arhilah villages north of Badush region after inflicting heavy losses on Daesh ranks and destroying their military hardware.
The forces had earlier established control over Badush’s strategic bridge and the water pumping station in the area.
Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by their Arabic name, Hashd al-Sha’abi – launched their offensive to retake Mosul last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.