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The escape from Mosul: Rahim’s story



  • March 03, 2018
Kelsey Campbell

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The smell of burning rubble. The ear-piercing pops of automatic weapons. The sight of his brother being killed before his eyes …

These are all experiences Rahim cannot wipe from his memory. He can never forget them. Even when he lies down to sleep in the displacement camp, he still dreams of ISIS taking everything away from him.

Even though Rahim now lives in a camp meant to help victims of ISIS, we’ve changed his name to protect his identity.

“We had a very difficult life there surrounded by death,” Rahim said of his time living in Mosul. He remembers how scared his wife and four children were the day ISIS invaded.

“The situation became dramatic and horrific. People were trapped there with no safe exits. Roads were destroyed, and there were homemade bombs all over.”

Booby traps, unexploded ordnance, land mines, and dead bodies littered the streets of Mosul. The buildings left standing weren’t structurally sound, or at least, they wouldn’t be for long. Every day more bombs fell on the city. More than eight out of 10 sites destroyed were homes.

Knowing his family wasn’t safe in the city, Rahim decided they had to escape. They were running out of food and didn’t have any water to drink. Even basic medical care wasn’t available anymore.

“We couldn’t imagine or expect what we would confront in the coming days,” Rahim continued. “It was something that I can’t describe. It was really a human disaster.”

That’s when Rahim and his family made their escape from Mosul. But their journey was plagued with danger and loss.

The morning of their departure, the Iraqi military had begun bombing ISIS forces. In order to keep civilians safe, several military vehicles transported Iraqi families like Rahim’s to safer locations.

“We reached Erbil after a long time, our ears hurting from the harmful, high-frequency sounds of [gun]fire between Iraqi troops and ISIS as we rode in the car,” Rahim said. Eventually, Rahim and his family made their way to a camp for those fleeing the city, but they had lost a vital family member.

“ISIS executed my brother in front of my eyes because he tried to escape,” Rahim said.

After they fled, Rahim and his family faced more obstacles. The displacement camp was quickly filling up with other families from Mosul. There weren’t enough rations to go around.

Rahim realized his family’s problems weren’t over. They would still have to struggle to survive.

But that’s when shipments of lifesaving food and supplies arrived. Generous donors on the other side of the world — people who haven’t given up on Iraq ­— provided oats, flour, beans, and more.

As Rahim carried a 20-pound bag of provisions back to his family, he felt more at peace than he had in months.

“It’s much better than living with ISIS, especially when God sent us … food packages, medical supplies, and care packs,” Rahim said. “They were definitely very useful, helpful, and cover our persistent need.”

Families from places such as Mosul have no homes to return to. And countless people continue to flee the areas around besieged cities such as Ghouta, Syria. The need for supplies has never been more urgent.

And you can send the help people desperately need. For $35, you can provide $189 worth of lifesaving supplies to people who have witnessed terrible atrocities.

Today, you can show someone like Rahim that he is seen and loved. You can save a life.

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