It’s become a favorite tactic of the Islamic State (aka ISIS/ISIL). They set their clandestine bases up in residential areas among innocent civilians to prevent US and Iraqi airstrikes from decimating them from the sky.
The group has even taken to physically hiding behind innocent civilians as coalition forces close in.
However, the tactic isn’t enough to stop one intrepid Iraqi sniper from doing his job. According to a profile in USA Today, Yousef Ali isn’t letting the ISIS fighters get away with their blatant crimes.
From the USA Today article:
Yousef Ali peered through the scope of his Russian-made Dragunov sniper rifle. Through the small hole in the wall of an abandoned hotel, Ali saw the labyrinth of the Old City’s narrow streets stretch before him.
Less than 300 yards away, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, prepared for another sneak attack, surrounded by civilian human shields. “The (ISIS fighters) are out there,” said the 20-year-old Iraqi federal policeman, taking his eyes off the scope for a moment. “Just behind those buildings.”
The police forces have had an important role to play since the start an offensive in October to drive the militants from Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq. For the past few months, they’ve gained a higher profile taking out ISIS positions in western Mosul while creating escape routes for trapped civilians in tight quarters.
Ali said that he and his fellow snipers will make a competition out of their battle against the ISIS fighters.
“We always hear everything that’s going over the radio. So sometimes we’ll say, ‘Oh, I killed more (ISIS fighters) than you, you better try harder,'” he said. “But we all treat each other as brothers here.”
In addition to snipers, other Iraqi police forces are also joining the fight against ISIS. Iraqi SWAT teams are often performing jobs usually reserved for special forces soldiers.
“Our brothers and sisters are being used as human shields. We’re going to defend our families,” said one SWAT officer in the same USA Today piece. “We give our blood because we need to get our country back.”