“In our village, Kalidiya, south of Mosul, we have witnessed heavy clashes between the Iraqi army and ISIS. There were many dead—we were saved by a hair,” said Amar Saad Nadimi, 20, in an interview with Middle East Eye. He has spent the last three days at the Dabaqa refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. He spoke about the divisions that revolve around the counter-offensive on Mosul: Some of his friends wanted to join the army or the government militias involved in the operation to take back the city.
But Baghdad and Erbil do not want them: Like the other Sunnis who have arrived there, they were searched and interrogated to verify that they had no links with ISIS.
The atmosphere is tense. On Saturday, the head of the Kurdish Kirkuk police accused Sunni refugees in the city of having helped ISIS to infiltrate and 30 percent of displaced people of supporting the Islamic State. The “Caliphate” has rested its political and military strategy on these divisions since before the occupation of one third of the country in 2014. It continues to do so. The assault on Kirkuk is the proof of it. Armed clashes ended Saturday at dawn, after more than 24 hours and 80 deaths, mostly members of the security forces.