Civilians fleeing Fallujah say Daesh uses food to recruit new fighters
Displaced Iraqi families, who fled their homes in Fallujah due to fighting between Iraqi government forces and Daesh, queue for food rations and other emergency supplies on June 6, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad Mousa)
Civilians who managed to flee Fallujah as a battle between Daesh and Iraqi government forces raged, say Daesh was using food as an incentive to recruit new fighters whose relatives were going hungry, Reuters reported.
Survivors say they were forced to eat little more than stale dates, as Daesh militants had kept a close guard on food storage during its siege on the city. Fallujah fell to Daesh in January 2014, and six months later the militant group declared a self-styled "caliphate" across Iraq and Syria.
Daesh fighters would visit families after food became scarce, offering supplies for the families of young men who enlisted.
Hanaa Mahdi Fayadh, 23, told Reuters, “They told our neighbor they would give him a sack of flour if his son joined them; he refused and when they had gone, he fled with his family."
Many in Fallujah ran out of money to buy food from the group, as the Iraqi government had halted the salaries of government employees in the city, to prevent the funds from being seized by Daesh.
An estimated 50,000 civilians remained trapped in Fallujah at the start of the offensive, and though Iraqi forces set up safe corridors, Daesh has been targeting those trying to escape.
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