Iraqi civilians flee as Fallujah battle intensifies

Published June 5th, 2016 - 07:31 GMT
Displaced Iraqis, who fled the al-Falahat village west of Fallujah due to fighting between Iraqi government forces and Daesh, wait to receive food and aid at the village of al-Azraqiyah, on June 4, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
Displaced Iraqis, who fled the al-Falahat village west of Fallujah due to fighting between Iraqi government forces and Daesh, wait to receive food and aid at the village of al-Azraqiyah, on June 4, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

In Iraq, civilians trapped inside Fallujah have continued to flee over the weekend.

It comes as the battle for the besieged city showed signs of entering a new phase with Iranian backed Shia militia threatening to storm the Daesh stronghold once residents leave.

Up to 50,000 civilians are still stuck in Fallujah which lies just 50 kilometres west of Baghdad.

“We were hiding in a house for several days, trying to avoid Daesh militants. If they’d have found us they would have cut off our heads. Thank God we managed to get out, we are all safe now,” said Um Firas, a fleeing Fallujah resident

The threat by Shia militia to retake Fallujah appears to backtrack on earlier statements that they would leave the task to the Iraqi army.

In Baghdad, the government has blamed Daesh for the slow progress by preventing civilians from leaving and using them as human shields.

Aid groups estimate the violence around Fallujah has displaced more than 12,000 people in the past two weeks.


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