The United Nations and humanitarian organisations are concerned over the fate of around 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, a town situated west of Baghdad, and the site of a major Iraqi army offensive to retake the town from ISIL control.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Baghdad, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Becky Bakr Abdulla recalled stories told to her by families who managed to escape Fallujah, where, since Monday, the Iraqi army has been shelling areas controlled by the ISIL.
“People basically are surviving on dried dates and water from the river,” Abdulla said. “The only things these families managed to take with them were the clothes they’re wearing and their IDs.”
Abdulla explained that the few families who did escape the town had to travel around 30km by foot and pass numerous checkpoints in order to reach safety.
Although the offensive was only launched on Monday, the city and its suburbs have been besieged for several months now by Iraqi government forces, resulting in shortages of food and medicines.
The Iraqi government said it was opening humanitarian corridors for civilians to flee the offensive, to the west, south-west and south-east of Fallujah. From there, locals were being sent to makeshift camps.
However, those being evacuated were asked to travel along a main road, riddled with booby-trapped improvised explosives and full of ISIL fighters.
In January 2014, Fallujah became the first Iraqi city to be captured by ISIL, six months before the group declared its caliphate.
- Pray for those Iraq, for peace in her streets, for political stability and for good and fair government for all people living there.
- Pray for those caught up in this latest offensive. Pray for protection over civilians, for access to food, clean water and medical supplies.
- Pray that the ISIL forces will be pushed out of Iraq, and for protection especially for Christians living under the ISIL regime.
- Pray for the Iraqi church at this time of conflict, for their witness and testimony to the life and love of Christ to be a light in the darkness, and for many to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 46 vs 10: “‘Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.’”