Fezile Mustafa a 66-year-old woman from the village of Tabzava which is five kilometers from Mosul, told Sputnik Turkey that she together with three of her children and grandchildren barely managed to escape from the village.
“Approximately 130 families nearly all residents ran together with us. When the Peshmerga forces entered the village the fighting went on for 4 days. During that time, we could not leave the house,” Fezile said.
“For four days we stayed without food or water. As soon as Daesh finally were forced out of our village, we immediately rushed to the Peshmerga soldiers where we found shelter. Now we are heading to Erbil to the refugee camps,” she added.
She further said that Daesh captured their village two years ago. Throughout that time they were subjected to extremely cruel treatment.
“The terrorists stopped us from even listening to music and watching TV. If a woman in the street was out in a burqa and even if one hair on her head was visible from under her veil, she was punished by being beaten with lashes,” Fezile recalls.
Due to the intense fear, people tried to stay inside and not go out into the street if it could be avoided.
“The militants told us: ‘You will act in conformity with the injunctions of Islam and those who do not obey will be severely punished. We were forbidden to smoke. We smoked at night, carefully hiding it. We were like the living dead,” Fezile said.
She recalls with tears in her eyes how Daesh killed her son. “They killed my son Ali in the village square by cutting his head off, because he had served in the police with the Iraqi government.”
She further said how she saw it with her own eyes. Fezile said that her son was not guilty of anything.
“He was killed only because he was an Iraqi policeman. I pleaded with them, saying, ‘Have mercy on him, it is better to kill me instead,’ but they did not listen. They took my son. He was 30 years old, he was married and he left three children behind,” the grief-stricken mother said.
Another citizen named Mustafa Hesen, a 36-year-old from the same village of Tabzava, said that he escaped from the village along with 6 of his children. According to him, the cruelty of Daesh militants knew no bounds.
“We were forbidden to smoke, shave off our beards, watch TV or listen to music. The jihadists forced us to obey their orders and they controlled our lives down to the smallest detail. Praise be to Allah, today the militants have been kicked out of our village. This is the only thing that calms us,” Hesen said.
He further said that he really wants to return home but that can only be possible when the militants are completely eradicated. Otherwise, he cannot go back with his family out of fear that Daesh may come back to terrorize them.
Another resident of a nearby village, Zeki Ibrahim told Sputnik about the day when all the people in the village of Bartilla were gathered together by Daesh.
They all bore witness to an execution of a man who was accused of homosexuality. The man was thrown down from a tall building. On another occasion, the citizens were told to stone to death a woman who was caught in adultery.
A resident of the village Zeydani, Murad Hemo, who escaped from the oppression of jihadists, described life under the rule of Daesh saying that, “We lived under constant oppression and fear of punishment. They entirely controlled our lives, especially when it came to clothing and everyday activities.”
He said that women could only show their eyes, all other parts of the body were to be completely hidden. There were special women patrols which closely monitored to ensure that all women were following the rules. Any violators were immediately punished by being beaten by lashes.
“Men, who shaved their beards were also hit and punished by having to pay a fine. Those who were caught for the second time were thrown into prison. Those who committed a ‘more serious’ act by their standards were sentenced to death,” Murad said.
On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of a military operation to recapture Mosul from Daesh with air support provided by the US-led coalition. About 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are reportedly taking part in the operation.