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General

Residents Return to Iraq’s Hammam al-Alil after Its Recapture from ISIS

Hundreds of Iraqis who recently returned to the town of Hammam al-Alil, southeast of Mosul, after its recapture from Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) receive aid and food packages on Sunday.

The men, women and children waited in line to receive fruits and vegetables as well as non-perishable items from Federal Police forces.

"Our financial situation is bad, but these good people brought us food. People were hungry, they were starving. They had no work, no salaries, nothing," one local, Najma Ali, said on life after ISIS.

A mass grave with over 100 bodies found in Hammam al-Alil was one of several Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) killing grounds, U.N. human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday.

She cited testimony gleaned from sources including a man who had survived an execution of some 50 former Iraqi soldiers by playing dead.

The militants reportedly transported 1,600 abducted civilians from Hammam al-Alil to Tal Afar before its recapture, possibly for use as human shields against air strikes, and told some they may be taken to Syria.

They also reportedly took 150 families from Hammam al-Alil to Mosul.

Many buildings in the town have been damaged or destroyed in the fighting.

The army has said it controls or has advanced in nearly a dozen districts in Mosul.

But announcements of gains are often followed by reports of renewed fighting in the same areas which have been declared under control.

The CTS Special Forces spearheading the advance into Mosul are part of a 100,000-strong force of army, security forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and mainly Shia "Popular Mobilisation" forces aiming to drive Islamic State from the largest city under their control in Iraq or Syria.

The operation, which enters its fifth week on Monday, is the most complex in Iraq in over a decade and is complicated by the presence of the more than 1 million civilians still living under Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) control.

Source: Al Alam


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