Shi'ite Turkmen villagers near Baghdad flee to Kurdish-controlled areas
Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 01:39
As ISIL Sunni radicals bring the fight for Iraq closer and closer to Baghdad, Shi'ite Turkmen villagers flee to northern areas controlled by the Kurds. Mana Rabiee reports.
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NATS HIGHWAY On this wind-swept highway north of Baghdad, Iraqi families are making their escape. They're from a Turkmen Shi'ite village. They're fleeing violent clashes between radical Sunni militants and government forces for control of their village. All their worldly goods, piled onto the back of a truck. They'll make their way to a nearby town called Tuz Khurmato, controlled by Kurdish forces. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN FLEEING FROM AMERLY DISTRICT HEADING TO TUZ KHURMATO, SAYING: "We left the village to go to Tuz Khurmato out of fear for the safety of our families and children." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED MAN FROM ALBU HASSAN VILLAGE, AMERLY DISTRICT, SAYING: "We were forced to leave the district because of the clashes between the army and the militants. We are afraid for the safety of our families." NATS FIGHTING With stunning speed, Sunni Islamist insurgents called I-S-I-L, an offshoot of al Qaeda, have captured large tracts of territory in northern, and now, central Iraq. The fighting has allowed autonomous Kurds in the northeast to expand their zone of control. In the west, the Sunni radicals have taken ground. Iraq is being divided along sectarian lines. NATS HIGHWAY The U.N. says it's expanding aid to a MILLION people driven from their homes by the fighting. Many families, say the U.N. are living in the open, in urgent need of food, water, shelter and latrines. These luckier ones are off to Tuz Khurmato. But there's no guarantee the fighting won't follow them. The village lies in territory that the federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan region claim as their own.
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