Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

As Democrats gather, Russian subplot sparks intrigue

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Bernard Cazeneuve, the political punching bag

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Erdogan to rid Turkish institutions of ‘separatist cancer’ after coup attempt

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of summer music festivals in France

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Going for gold: French athletes train for Rio Olympics

Read more

#TECH 24

Digital beauty

Read more

FOCUS

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump hopes to reset America's trade relations

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump's speech was just another scam'

Read more

Middle East

Video: Iraqi soldiers say officers were first to flee from insurgents

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-16

As the Iraqi army fights back against a rebel insurgency, questions remain over the lack of resistance met by insurgents who overran the country’s north last week. FRANCE 24 spoke to soldiers who fled to a refugee camp after abandoning their posts.

Around 1,000 Iraqis fled to the Ghazar refugee camp 20 kilometres north of Mosul after rebels led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Levant (ISIS) took control of the city last week.

In the wake of the jihadists' lightning advance across wide swaths of Iraqi territory, many people were surprised to learn that soldiers trained by military experts from the US dropped their guns and shed their uniforms to join fleeing civilians as the insurgents approached Iraq’s second-largest city.

“We saw the officers putting on civilian clothes,” one such soldier at the Ghazar camp told FRANCE 24. “When we asked what was happening we were told that all the senior officers had fled, not one left. We could have continued to fight and defeat the jihadists. But our commanders betrayed us.”

ISIS militants have since offered amnesty to members of security forces who lay down their arms and return to Mosul, but many don’t trust the jihadists who have posted gruesome pictures of soldiers' executions online.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened over the weekend to execute soldiers who were caught deserting.

Many former soldiers no longer know who to turn to, and are choosing to keep a low profile among other refugees until the violence subsides.

To watch FRANCE 24’s full video report with Iraqi army deserters click on the player above.

Date created : 2014-06-16

  • IRAQ

    ISIS militants post photos of massacred Iraqi soldiers

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Iraqi army offensive retakes some towns from militants

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Obama: Military help contingent upon Iraq ending sectarian disputes

    Read more

COMMENT(S)