As Mosul battle escalates, civilians caught in crossfire

By REUTERS
March 19, 2017 09:26
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Shihab Ayed and several other men struggled to push a cart carrying the bodies of his son and wife, wrapped in blankets, through a muddy ditch nearly two miles (3 km) from their destroyed home in Mosul.

Four other carts followed, laden with days-old corpses from air strikes which the men said had killed 21 relatives and neighbors in an area Islamic State militants controlled earlier in the week.

Ayed, a 40-year-old laborer, pulled back a blanket to show his only son, three-and-a-half year-old Ahmed, lying lifeless with his eyes closed and a big gash in his right cheek.

"Three houses were destroyed by two air strikes," Ayed said.

"Islamic State fighters were firing from our house and from the road outside, and we were hiding inside. Fifteen minutes later the strikes hit.

"We pulled the bodies from the rubble and now we're going to bury them. Then I'll come back to my three remaining daughters," Ayed said, in tears.

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