As Iraq continues its months-long invasion of Mosul, a growing number of civilians are fleeing out of the city, with 14,000 estimated to have left in the last week, mostly on foot, walking toward the refugee camps set up further to the south.
Iraq has long insinuated that the refugees would include a lot of ISIS members, a narrative that they established in no small part because it would justify the summary detentions of a lot of the detainees as “suspects.” Intelligence officials familiar with the situation say it is happening, to some extent.
“The fighters don’t come out,” one of the officials told Reuters, saying that the people that are trying to slip out played less public, and non-combatant roles with ISIS. This leaves open the question of whether the intelligence pointing to them having ISIS ties is good or not.
Iraq is heavily reliant on paid “sources” from Mosul for such information, and a lot of times in the past this has led the sources to coming up with lists of names that make those writing the checks happy, and less worried with fact-checking.
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