ISIS closes Mosul hospitals to civilians

Mosul hospital. (AFP/Mujahed Mohammed)

BEIRUT – ISIS has started to deny civilians in Mosul access to the city’s hospitals as the extremist group’s military casualties mount in the Anbar Province to the south amid a new government offensive, according to an Iraqi Kurdish news outlet.

Bas News reported that ISIS ordered hospital administrations on Monday morning to bar the entry and exit of civilian patients at Mosul hospitals out of fears that that information will leak regarding the number of dead and injured fighters in ISIS’ ranks in the city’s hospitals.

“ISIS militants have deployed in heavy numbers near the five hospitals of Mosul,” a source from the city’s Joumhouriya Hospital told the outlet.

“They ordered the administrations of the hospitals to bar the entry and exit of ailing Mosul residents.”

The source explained that the decision was passed down after “hundreds of killed and injured ISIS fighters” were rushed to the hospitals as a result of ISIS’ ongoing battles in the Anbar province against government forces as well as its battles outside Mosul against Kurdish Peshmerga troops.

“ISIS fears the true number of the organization’s fatalities will leak, collapsing the morale of fighters,” he added.

The Bas News report comes after the Iraqi government announced at dawn Monday that it had begun an offensive to recapture Anbar Province from ISIS, which controls over 80% of the vast desert region of western Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish Rudaw News reported on Sunday that government forces had surrounded Fallujah and Ramadi in preparation for an assault on the two main ISIS-controlled towns of the province.