Middle East

River of tears in northern Iraq as refugees escape the grip of ISIS

Irbil refugees 113A

 (FoxNews.com photo)

It is the human toll of the war against ISIS in Mosul‎. Wave upon wave of refugees from towns where the fighting has been intense arriving at a new refugee camp outside Irbil in northern Iraq.   

They came in broken down cars, trucks buses. Men, women and children piling out, picking up blankets and other essentials, and heading to new shelters. Locals told us it was the biggest influx of displaced people since the fighting started nearly three weeks ago.

As the camps filled up, the tales of terror mounted as well. ‎We spoke to one man sporting a bald head. He said he was captured by ISIS, the militants shaved his hair off, and then beat him... 95 times. He counted.

As reports came today of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi purportedly issuing an audio message to his followers to keep up the fight, another older man reacted strongly. "He is not a human," he told me. "He is a monster! He tried to kill us by starvation."

The many young people we shook hands and shared selfies with knew nothing ‎about these politics. They just seemed to have a grim awareness that something bad was happening and they were on the move again.

The wish of nearly everyone here, after the more than two year ISIS reign of terror in the region, is that it will soon be over. Many also fear though that it won't be. ‎You can see that in the lined and sad faces of the mothers tending those young. And worrying about the future.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.