Vehicles crammed with men, women and children who are fleeing the threat of violence, kidnapping and rape, were queuing at checkpoints at the frontier of Iraq’s Kurdish region today.
The refugees were among about half-a-million people who have fled their homes since Monday, according to a United Nations estimate.
Workers were busily extending the Khazer checkpoint in the frontier area known as Kalak, where displaced women hungrily munched on sandwiches distributed by aid workers and soldiers rushed to process people.
The exodus began after fighters of the al-Qa’ida breakaway group Isis seized the northern city of Mosul on Monday. Since then, the militants have moved southward toward the capital, Baghdad.
“Masked men came to our house and they threatened us: ‘We will get to you.’ So we fled,” said Abed, a labourer who abandoned his home on the edge of Mosul. “They kidnapped other people. They took away some people for interrogation.”