The Islamic State (Isis) has burned 15 civilians to death for attempting to flee the besieged city of Fallujah whilst arresting a dissident who took to regional TV to tell of the deteriorating conditions in the city. Fallujah is around 43mi (70km) east of the capital Baghdad and has been under the control of the jihadists since January 2014.
The nearby city of Ramadi, 20 miles to the east, was liberated by Iraqi troops in December 2015 cutting supply lines to IS (Daesh) territory in the east and leaving Fallujah entirely encircled. Horrendous conditions in the so-called ‘City of Mosques’ have led to reported shortages in food and medicines.
It is understood that many citizens suffer from diseases due to malnutrition and a local governor in the region, Azal Obaid, of the Anbar Provincial Council, has said that 15 civilians were publicly burned to death because they tried to escape.
Obaid told the Kurdish news agency ARA that IS are using civilians as human shields “to protect its own militants inside the city of Fallujah”. He added: “There is a military plan prepared by the leadership of the Iraqi army and local tribes to liberate the city of Fallujah.”
According to residents of the city IS jihadists have become increasingly paranoid and view many of the civilians with suspicion as popular mobilisation forces and the Iraqi army, backed by Western-led air strikes, tighten their grip on Anbar province.
The news of the deaths emerged as the terror group arrested a woman who related the atrocities committed by IS in the city in a video aired on Al Arabiya News Channel. She had told Al Arabiya: “People are dying because of hunger, there is no medicine, no food, we have no more options left,” she said in the short video, appearing breathless and angry she added: “Allah is my refuge.”
In the last two days Fallujah’s hospital has received three women wounded from barrel bombings and two children have also been killed. Al Arabiya also reported that five other children died due to medicine shortage.
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In March IS released execution images showing a man’s head being blown off by explosive wire in Fallujah. The victim was one of six men killed in the city over accusations of spying for the Iraqi government.
Isis has burned people to death before. In a propaganda video, imprisoned Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, 26, was seen being burnt alive.