Qaim Islamic State members executed two comrades on Monday in Anbar province after they had escaped battles against Iraqi government forces in neighboring Mosul.
Aljournal news website quoted a security source saying that a firing squad shot the pair dead near a hospital in the city of Qaim, west of Anbar. The pair’s families were forced to move to Raqqa, the group’s main bastion in neighboring Syria, seizing their vehicles and residences, according to the source.
The source added that the group threatened to kill any member attempting to similarly escape from the group’s strongholds of Qaim, Rawa and Annah, the western Anbar towns which the group has held since 2014. They warned that the families of members who would attempt to escape would be denied movement and will have their cell phones and passports confiscated.
Last week, Alsumaria News reported that the Islamic State had issued arrest warrants for several members who had fled fighting against Iraqi troops in western Mosul to neighbouring Syria. It quoted sources saying that the group’s so-called “security department” in Nineveh ordered that those who return voluntarily to the battlefield shall receive 90 lashes and two months in jail, while those caught while at large should be executed.
Since Iraqi troops, backed by the U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, launched a campaign in October to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, the group has been sustaining severe losses in terms of personnel and finances, with hundreds of senior leaders killed and others reported at large. The group has occasionally executed or levied harsh punishments on members for either attempting to escape or for slack performance on the battlefield.
Iraqi commanders have claimed control over 70 percent over western Mosul. Eastern Mosul was declared militants-free in January.