Refugee women fleeing Isis set fire to burqas in show of freedom

'Hana' told how she had shown her face outside for the first time in two years

Peter Walker
Tuesday 15 November 2016 11:26 GMT
Thousands, including this Iraqi girl at the fencing of the Hasan Sham camp, have fled under-siege Mosul in Iraq
Thousands, including this Iraqi girl at the fencing of the Hasan Sham camp, have fled under-siege Mosul in Iraq (Getty)

Women fleeing Isis have set fire to their black clothes and hung them up on the fencing of a refugee camp in a show of defiance and freedom.

Dozens, after escaping the under-siege Daesh stronghold of Mosul, in Iraq have reportedly pinned burqas and niqabs on the barbed wire perimeter surrounding Khazar refugee camp in Hasan Sham village.

The women, now wearing their more colourful clothes for the first time in two years, have spoken of their relief.

“I managed to hide a mobile phone in a hole I made on the floor of my bedroom,” said Hana, speaking to journalist Francesca Mannocchi for Alaraby, from the United Nation’s Hasan Sham camp in northern Iraq.

“I knew I was risking a lot. Everything was forbidden: television, phones, any form of communication with the outside world.

“IS [Isis] did not want us to know what was happening beyond their control.

“In the last few days I thought I would die. There was no more food, no electricity, even water was scarce.

“We knew that staying in Gogjali (in eastern Mosul) was terrible but we also knew that escaping was dangerous too. We have heard that many civilians have been punished because IS found them while fleeing.”

Iraqi forces enter Mosul

An Iraq soldier from Mosul was reunited by chance with his mother who was fleeing Isis and Isis reportedly shot 40 civilians dead in Mosul as allied soldiers closed in.

Hana, who threw her burqa on the fence and now wears a turquoise scarf, added: “For two years I have almost never left my house. I could go out only when accompanied by an immediate relative.

“They [Isis] do not want citizens. They are looking for soldiers only willing to die.”

The Iranian Students News Agency claimed some women set fire to their black dresses.

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