According to reports coming out of Iraq, ISIS snipers have begun firing on men, women, and children attempting to flee Mosul under cover of darkness.

Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq and largest ISIS stronghold in the nation, has been the site of extensive fighting, as coalition backed Iraqi security forces have worked to rid the city, and the nation, of the terrorist organization.  Anti-ISIS fighters successfully took the eastern side of the city in January and are continuing their offensive through its western portions.

Civilians have fled the city of Mosul by the thousands, but in an act of desperation, ISIS snipers have begun targeting innocents as they attempt to get away from the battle front.

Iraqi intelligence officers stated that more than 6,000 civilians came through an East Mosul checkpoint on Thursday alone, some carrying suitcases, others only the clothing on their backs.  As night fell, the exodus continued, with cracks of sniper fire tearing through the Iraqi night.

“The snipers are professional, they do not care. Anybody that moves, they kill,” said Faris Khader, from al-Abar district.

The battle to retake Mosul has raged for over five months now, with more than a half million civilians trapped within the city as ISIS fighters attempt to use them to shield themselves from coalition airstrikes.  Many Iraqis have been critical of the U.S. led strikes, accusing them of claiming as many lives as the terrorists attempting to use them as human shields.

“There are many people dead under the rubble. Some in my family died. Nobody can take the bodies out. They were killed by an air strike,” said Khader, who claims an ISIS sniper was using the roof of his home to fight Iraqi security forces until an airstrike destroyed the building.

Life in the city under ISIS control has been extremely difficult for civilians trapped between the terrorists and security forces, who face certain death at the hands of ISIS fighters and the constant fear of being caught in the crossfire as Iraqi liberators attempt to root out the fighters clinging to their last Urban Iraqi stronghold.