Long Delays at Checkpoints for Refugees Fleeing Anbar

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Some one hundred families have been stuck in the desert, waiting for hours at checkpoints manned by Iraqi government forces, as they attempt to flee their homes in Anbar and Salahuddine towards the predominantly Shiite province of Karbala.

ISIS militants launched an offensive on Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, in mid-April 2015, and were able to seize at least three villages.

SHOTLIST AND TRANSCRIPT

Various of refugees in the outdoors

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Shamia Ibrahim, Refugee from Ramadi
00:47 – 01:42

“We were displaced from Ramadi by the indiscriminate bombing and airstrikes. We came to Karbala so that people would take care of us and help us. We have suffered. Q: Why did you come to Karbala?
A: We came looking for safety. We want to find a place where we can settle down with our children.
Q: Why are waiting in the desert?
A: We are waiting… we came to Karbala because we want them to consider our situation. We need you to help us. Helps and take our situation into consideration. You can see our situation.
Q: What do you think about the security measures? Are they good? Are they strict?
A: They are very good. They helped and let us in and treated us very well from the start. They have been good to us.
Q: What is your name?
A: Shamia Ibrahim.”

Close-up of registration plate from Baghdad
Various of refugees
Close-up of registration plate from Anbar
Medium of refugees eating
Various of security personnel searching vehicles

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Abu Fouad, Refugee from Ramadi
02:44 – 03:24

“You do not feel safe at home. Bombs are falling and there are militiamen. A gas canister costs 40,000 dinars. A liter of gasoline costs 2,000 dinars. A kilogram of tomatoes costs 3,000 dinars. There is no work. We stayed on the road for two days. We were held at each checkpoint for four to five hours. Guards repeat the same procedures at each checkpoint, even though the distance is only 30 km. The procedures are very tough. We have been on the road since the morning and we have not reached Karbala.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman), Um Mohamad, A refugee from Tikrit
03:31 – 04:26

“Q: Where do you come from? A: I have come from Tikrit.
Q: From Tikrit?
A: Yes from Tikrit.
Q: Why did you come to Karbala?
A: We have been displaced. Our homes were bombed. We do not have any houses left. When can we go?
Q: Honestly, what do you think about the way you have been received in Karbala?
A: Thanks be to God, it is good.
Q: Why do you mean by ‘good’? Were you allowed in?
A: The checkpoint let us through, but they are searching us.
Q: [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
A: Let them search. We do not have anything [to hide].
Q: At the end, will they let you in?
A: I do not know. But why would they not let us? We do not carrying anything [threatening].
Q: Who did you exactly run away from? ISIS? The Iraqi army? The Popular Mobilization?
A: I do not know. Everyone fled and we fled with them.
Q: Why did they flee?
A: I do not know. People were scared.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Amjad Ali Talab, Refugee from Anbar
04:27 – 05:56

“From Anbar. We came to flee the suffering due to the bombing by mortars and artillery. We came by car. The checkpoints searched and helped us. They conducted their duties properly and did everything they should. We came to Karbala looking for safety and a place to settle in.”

Close-up of food leftovers
Various of refugees