(Reuters) At a former ISIS training camp, Iraqi police dodge snipers’ bullets and explosives dropped from drones by the militants. Lucy Fielder reports.
Iraqi families used to stroll through this park in Mosul, Then it became a training ground for ISIS militants. It was recaptured during the three-month drive to push the jihadists from the east of the city, which became their stronghold when they took it 2014. Iraqi police hold the camp now, but they’re far from safe. The militants remain determined; their snipers close by and highly experienced.HEAD OF EMERGENCY UNIT IN NINEVEH 5TH DIVISION, IRAQI POLICE, LT-COLONEL FALAH HAMMAD HINDI, SAid: “ISIS used this entire area as a training ground. The area was cordoned off to train the members of the groups on how to snipe, use mortars, and for physical training.” Locals over in western Mosul inform the police about the sniper’s positions, which are about 500 metres away across the Tigris river. Most are foreign fighters, police say. They send drones over the park too, to carry out surveillance and drop explosives. The battle for western Mosul comes next; Iraqi police and armed forces fearing the militants will put up a fiercer fight there to defend what’s left of their self-proclaimed caliphate.