Iraqi Civilians Pay Heavy Price as Attack on ISIS in Mosul Nears

By David Zucchino—The New York Times—February 18, 2017—

ERBIL, Iraq — Several hundred thousand civilians are enduring desperate conditions and facing retribution by Islamic State fighters in western Mosul as Iraqi forces prepare to attack militants who control the city’s western half, according to residents and humanitarian groups.

In telephone interviews, residents said the Islamic State was using food as a weapon, doling out small amounts to hungry families in return for information gained by spying on neighbors suspected of aiding Iraqi security forces. They said several residents accused of phoning security forces with information about Islamic State activities had been killed in recent weeks.

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