'I've never seen such war' says 90-year-old rescued from Mosul

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Rescued grandmother speaks of horrors in Iraq
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Rescued grandmother speaks of horrors in Iraq
Ninety-year-old Khatla Ali Abdullah hands are seen as she sits at her tent in Hammam al Alil camp while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Khatla Ali Abdullah, 90, who recently fled her house in Al Mamoun district speaks with a Reuters journalist as she sits at her tent in Hammam al Alil camp, while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Khatla Ali Abdullah, 90, who recently fled her home in Al Mamoun district speaks with a Reuters journalist as she sits in her tent in Hammam al Alil camp, while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Khatla Ali Abdullah, 90, is embraced as she flees her home as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Khatla Ali Abdullah, 90, a displaced Iraqi women who fled her home, is carried by a member of the Iraqi forces in the desert in western Mosul, Iraq February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Khatla Ali Abdullah, 90, who recently fled her home in Al Mamoun district talks to her relative as she sits with her daughter (L) in her tent in Hammam al Alil camp, while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A grandson of Khatla Ali Abdullah, looks through the tent's window in Hammam al Alil camp while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Khatla Ali Abdullah , 90, who recently fled her house in Al Mamoun district looks at photographs on a mobile phone as she sits with her grandsons in her tent in Hammam al Alil camp while Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "KHATLA ALI ABDULLAH" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Ninety-year-old Khatla Ali Abdallah has survived decades of turbulence in northern Iraq, but the frail grandmother who fled the battle for Mosul this week says the fighting there is the worst she has ever seen.

Carried across the desert by her grandsons, under sniper and mortar fire, she was one of thousands who braved the difficult and dangerous journey out of Islamic State's shrinking stronghold in the west of the city.

"I'm a 90-year-old woman and I haven't seen such a war," she said in a camp for displaced people south of Mosul, where she was taken by Iraqi security forces.

Khatla lived through Saddam Hussein's quarter century in power, when Iraq fought wars with neighboring Iran and Kuwait and endured a decade of devastating sanctions. That was followed by a U.S.-led invasion which toppled Saddam and led to years of sectarian war across the country.

"Even under the Saddam era, we were afraid because of the atrocities and the people killed," she said. "But nothing is compared to this phase".

Related: Boy reunited with family amid war against ISIS:

10 PHOTOS
Boy reunited with family after being sold by ISIS
See Gallery
Boy reunited with family after being sold by ISIS

Ayman, a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, hugs his grandmother after he was returned to his Yazidi family, in Duhok, Iraq, January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Ayman (C), a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, poses for a photograph with other children after he was returned to his Yazidi family in Duhok, Iraq, January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Abu Ahmed, who bought Yazidi boy Ayman from Islamic State militants in Mosul, shows a picture of Ayman on his phone in Rashidiya, north of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Iraqi army soldiers stand guard in front of Abu and Umm Ahmed's home, a Muslim couple who bought Yazidi boy Ayman from Islamic State militants, in Rashidiya, north of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Ayman, a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, sits beside his uncle Samir Rasho Khalaf (L) after he was returned to his Yazidi family in Duhok, Iraq, January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Abu Ahmed, who bought Yazidi boy Ayman from Islamic State militants in Mosul, shows Ayman's toys in Rashidiya, north of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Abu Ahmed and his wife Umm, a Muslim couple who bought Yazidi boy Ayman from Islamic State militants in Mosul, speak during an interview with Reuters in Rashidiya, north of Mosul, Iraq, January 30, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Ayman (C), a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, plays with other children after he was returned to his Yazidi family in Duhok, Iraq, January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Ayman, a boy from a minority Yazidi community, who was sold by Islamic State militants to a Muslim couple in Mosul, is greeted by his relative after he was returned to his Yazidi family in Duhok, Iraq, January 31, 2017.

(REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

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Since the launch of the military campaign in October to retake Mosul from Islamic State, Khatla remained in her home in the city's southwestern al-Mamoun district, now in the hands of Iraq's U.S.-backed Counter Terrorism Service (CTS).

At times she took shelter in her basement with the 20 chickens that she looked after - reminders, she said, of her youth when she also herded sheep and cattle.

"I haven't lost any chickens, not even a one little chick," she said. "We were trapped in the basement and we could hear the bullets hitting the metal roof of the chicken pen."

Her grandsons carried her for miles in the desert to reach the CTS lines, and then she was taken on a bus to a camp for internally displaced people.

"We just want to make it through this war," she said. "This one will make stories for generations to tell."

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