Hundreds of families have managed to flee the Iraqi city of Fallujah after two years of living under Islamic State (Isis) rule. Iraqi troops launched a final attack on the city on 30 May, hoping to bring it back under their control after the city fell to the militant group in January 2014.
Taking with them few belongings, those who escaped the besieged city were mainly women and children, exhausted as they piled into a minibus and were taken to safety by security forces.
A woman told Reuters, as she was sitting in a minibus after fleeing the war-torn area: "We left in the morning when the bombing intensified and became so near and we knew that the army, the security forces, were very near to us, so we decided to go to them.
"Thus, we carried our personal belongings and we left with our families, leaving everything else behind. They (Iraqi forces) received us well. They were very good to us and they spared no efforts to help us."
One camp, located in Amriyat al-Fallujah – around 30 miles from Baghdad, has been set up to shelter those fleeing the violence around the IS-controlled city. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is responsible for the running of the camp, there are around 3,000 people who have managed to flee the area and reach displacement camps since Iraqi forces launched an operation against Isis a week ago.
Another shelter has been set up in Garma, roughly 10 miles from the Iraqi capital. Those who come are drained from the hurried journey that saw many people left behind. According to one woman, the Islamic State militants took the men and it is not known if they are still alive. The militants "tightened the noose around us to force us to support them," one person explained. "But we did not side with them. We hid in our house."
With no food and no medicine, those who are still living under the militant group reported that the soaring prices of staple ingredients, such as flour and rice were leaving them with little or nothing to eat.
"We've been trapped for three years. We ate rotten dates and they (IS militants) moved us from one area to another. We drank hot water and ate unfresh food and we were content and we thank God. We only want an end to our plight. Do you believe that the price of a sack of flour (50 kilos) reached 1,250,000 (Iraqi dinars, $1,000), a handful rice is sold at 50,000 (Iraqi dinars, $40) and it is hard to find," a woman from Fallujah told Reuters.
Fears are now increasing for the 50,000 people who are still believed to be trapped inside the city, in a battle that is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever fought against the Islamic State.