Civilians trying to flee the siege of Fallujah have to run two gauntlets — sniper fire from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria holdouts in the city and then security "screening" by Iraqi forces that can include beatings and alleged summary executions, according to human rights groups and the United Nations.
"There are extremely distressing, credible reports that some people who survive the terrifying experience of escaping from (Fallujah) then face severe physical abuse once they reach the other side," the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a statement.
The civilian families who "have faced enormous difficulties and dangers getting out of Fallujah alive, are now facing double jeopardy in the form of serious human rights violations after they have escaped," Zeid said.
Amnesty International reported that Fallujah residents who managed to escape have related harrowing stories of the dangers they faced — from both sides.
"These include being caught by ISIS fighters and executed on the spot, treacherous routes out contaminated by mines and other explosive remnants of war, and the risk of arrests and other revenge attacks by the government-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU)" made up of Shia militias, Amnesty said.