ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) — Twenty-five Kurdish prisoners managed to escape into civilian homes in the Islamic State’s stronghold of Mosul a few days ago, claims a Kurdish official, adding that some of the escapees were recaptured by ISIS and others remained protected and harbored in civilian homes.
“After the people of Mosul realized that several captives fled ISIS, they welcomed them, guiding them to escape Mosul in order for them to return to their homes outside ISIS territories, but unfortunately, some of the escapees were recaptured,” Ismat Rajab, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party branch in Mosul, told Rudaw on Tuesday.
Rajab, who is currently based at Mount Zartik, the closest Peshmerga-held territory to ISIS in Mosul, added that the prisoners were held at an ISIS prison in the Christian neighborhood of Khalisiya.
“When the people realized these hostages escaped an ISIS jail, they—both Kurds and Arabs in the nearby areas—showed their willingness to harbor them from ISIS,” Rajab said of the positions of Mosul’s Arabs and Kurds concerning the escapees.
Last week, pro-ISIS Twitter accounts announced that some Kurds had broken out of a prison in Mosul. Following the escape, ISIS launched a campaign inside Mosul looking for the escapees.
Since the beginning of the ISIS war, Peshmerga on different fronts, including Mosul Dam, Zummar, Tilkef and Kirkuk have been taken captive by ISIS, but until now no official figure on ISIS captives has been provided by the Peshmerga ministry. However, according to information obtained by Rudaw, 30 Peshmerga are in ISIS captivity, mostly from the cities of Duhok and Kirkuk, and some of them have been killed by the extremist group.
Ahmed Hussein is one of the Peshmerga captives, and was taken prisoner by ISIS on August 17, 2014 near the Mosul Dam. Hussein’s wife, Piroz, the mother of three children, when informed of the escape of the Kurds in ISIS prisons in Mosul, told Rudaw she was overjoyed, but also cautious.
“A relative of mine called me last week saying ‘the Peshmerga captives have been released by ISIS and they returned home,’” she said. “My happiness at the moment cannot be imagined.”
“I have been keeping an eye on my phone and I’m eager to hear the ring of my mobile saying my husband will be back,” Piroz added.