Five More Civilians Rescued in West Mosul
22 June 2017
West Mosul, Iraq
Following the rescue of the little girl and man on 2 June 2017, we went back into ISIS territory and brought out five more people – two children, two women who had been shot, and a man, all of whom had been trapped for three days by ISIS snipers. Over 70 others they were with – men, women, children, babies, old men in wheelchairs, and old women who could not walk – had been shot to death by ISIS. This time the team included myself, Sky, Zau Seng, Toh Win, an Iraqi policeman, Zuhair, and three other Iraqi Police ERD along with 12 other Free Burma Rangers in support.
We had thought we got the only survivors on June 2, but the next morning we saw a little girl and man still moving. ISIS kept shooting all day down the streets and at any approaches to where the people were. To get to the next group of living civilians, we had to cross an ISIS-controlled street and the Iraqi Army vehicle in front of us was destroyed by an ISIS rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and 23mm cannon. Our Humvee was hit multiple times but kept going. We thanked Jesus and kept driving through the ISIS fire.
Previously, we had received help from the U.S. military, who had coordinated with Iraqi forces for smoke, to rescue the first two. The U.S. support for freedom and help here is a wonderful blessing and the U.S. forces give life-saving help every day. For this mission, though, we would have no smoke and no vehicles – we would have to go on foot into the ruined Pepsi factory where the survivors were. ISIS was on three sides of the factory and only 70 meters away in one area. In the rubble we found a little girl, a shot woman, a man, and a crippled boy. Outside on the street I could see over 50 dead in one area alone, including a man shot still in his wheelchair.
Then we heard a cry. There was a woman laying between three dead bodies behind a destroyed car. “Help me,” she cried weakly in Arabic. I could not believe she was alive – shot and with a broken leg, flies swarming around her, no water for three days.
I prayed to Jesus for courage and a way to save her. She was about 30 yards from us in an open area swept by ISIS fire. The Iraqi policeman I was with started ripping wire out of the walls and I cut a long length. I tied the wires together and we threw the wire to her. She tied it around her wrist and we dragged her to us. ISIS shot at us but could not get us or her.
We gathered up the five people and began the long and difficult carry through the rubble, moving as fast as we could when we had to cover open ground. We got all five to the Humvees and then ran another gauntlet of ISIS fire. Our Humvee was hit again but able to go.
I kept saying, “Thank you, Jesus,” and was full of wonder and joy that God had helped us rescue these people. The fear and rescue were draining but God refilled me and I felt the prayers of all of you – you gave us courage, faith, and, I believe, helped push back the forces of darkness so we could go.
I thank you, God, and our Iraqi friends. More photos are below.