They were ISIS human shields in Mosul. Here's how they broke free.

Abd al Razzak Ahmed, who was fleeing Mosul with his family on Thursday, said they were stuck inside their house for days at a time while ISIS fighters set up on their roof and blasted away at Iraqi troops. The fighters fled through a hole in the wall shortly before an airstrike or rocket explosion collapsed the house atop Ahmed’s daughter, killing her. The rest of the family managed to escape into liberated territory.

While trapped, he said, it was impossible to go out and replenish their food supplies or get clean water, making his family weak and afflicted with gastric illnesses, a common complaint of several escapees.

The families said they could not flee until Iraqi forces reached them because ISIS fighters were all too willing to fulfill their threats of killing anyone who tried to escape.