Horrors of Life Under ISIS Revealed as Security Forces Continue to Liberate Mosul

About 400 meters down the road from burnt pits of oil, a large sinkhole that goes deep down into the ground, was being used as an execution ground by ISIS.

 An Iraqi runs through a destroyed building as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in the Somod neighbourhood in western Mosul, Iraq March 27, 2017.
REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

As Iraqi security forces fight to retake western Mosul, the eastern side of the city is beginning to reveal atrocities committed under the Islamic State. The group, also known as ISIS, had been in control of the area for three years, while reports of beatings, dismemberment and executions were common under its brutal laws.

Khasfa, a barren and desolate land just outside west Mosul was the place where ISIS staged a fierce defense before retreating into the city.

Fires from burnt pits of oil in the battlefield still burn a month after they fled.

The thick smoke from the burnt pits helped hide ISIS soldier's positions from air strikes, but something else as well. It could be ISIS's largest execution site.

About 400 meters down the road from the burnt pits of oil, a large sinkhole that goes deep down into the ground, was being used as an execution ground by ISIS. They brought civilians to the pit from Mosul who disobeyed their rules but no one knows exactly how many people are inside since the whole area is very heavily mined.

A man who worked in a factory nearby said locals estimated more than 3,000 people had been killed and thrown into the pit. Informers, adulterers and infidels, but the truth will have to wait for now.

"We heard the screams of the people who were brought there, civilians, and then they were killed," said Amaer Ahmed, a local resident.

Inside eastern Mosul, some sort of normality has returned since the Iraqi army took control. Shortages are a problem, but many people have returned, despite the bitter fighting in the west.

But normality is something Nashwan Yassin will never know again. He lives on the edge of Mosul, with his sick mother and brothers. But he spends most of his time alone in a room that has become his sanctuary and his prison.

He was arrested in July last year and had a mobile phone with him. Because of the phone he was accused of being a spy. They beat him for days and electrocuted him. Then he showed the paper they gave him saying that he had been found guilty of theft and the phone they said, wasn't his.

The punishment under ISIS's brutal law was to have his hand cut off in public. There was no defense.

"I didn't want to come home because I didn't want my family to see me like this. Now I hide myself in this room, I don't want to see anyone. I was as free as a bird. Now I am not free any longer. I stay in the room almost 24 hours every day," said Nashwan Yassin, a local resident.

Now Yassin hides himself away because of the scar that will likely never heal.