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Battle for Mosul: Iraqi families fleeing ISIL reunited with relatives

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By Euronews
Battle for Mosul: Iraqi families fleeing ISIL reunited with relatives

<p>There have been emotional reunions at a refugee camp east of Mosul, as families fleeing <span class="caps">ISIL</span> militants come together with their relatives.</p> <p>Some have not seen one another for more than two years. </p> <p>Men, women and children were seen hugging and kissing at the Khazer camp. </p> <p>Thousands of people have left Mosul since Iraqi troops and other fighters, backed by US air strikes, launched their campaign to retake the city nearly three weeks ago. : </p> <p>“Daesh claim that they know Islam. And in Islam, it is important to keep family connections,” said one woman who has been displaced.</p> <p>“How can they say they value family when I haven’t seen my mother in two-and-a-half years? This is not a value of kinship, this is breaking up families.” </p> <p>The UN says at least 22,000 people have been displaced since the start of the Mosul offensive.</p> <p>That offensive has seen Iraqi troops battling on Saturday for the last town between them and <span class="caps">ISIL</span>’s stronghold. </p> <p>The attack on Hammam al-Alil, about 15 kilometres south of Mosul, is said to have targeted a force of at least 70 militant fighters. </p> <p><span class="caps">ISIL</span> has reportedly taken hundreds of people as human shields in the town. Retreating fighters are also said to have forced thousands to march with them as cover from air strikes. </p> <p>Mosul itself has already come under assault from special forces fighting inside the city’s eastern districts. </p> <p>Recapturing Mosul would effectively crush the Iraqi half of a self-proclaimed caliphate, declared by <span class="caps">ISIL</span> leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.</p>