>> Islamic State may have gone
t the battle to oust the militants has left this small town in Northern Iraq in ruins and its residents traumatized. Hammam al-Ali is the last town of the seven route towards Mosul. The fight to recapture it, a significant victory for the Iraqi army.
Civilians trapped inside have finally been able to come out of their houses. But they're not all local residents. Reuters reporter, Steven Caylin, says some have been brought to the town by force.>> I was talking to one civilian who said there were 94 people living in that house beside it.
These are civilians from villages which ISIS forced to withdraw with them in to this, this quiet large town. And they essentially were using them as human shields.>> Security forces are clearing the town of explosive devices as residence recount their two years of living under Islamic State rule.
One local man said that the militants set up a prison in the house next door to his.>> The man described how he would stare out a small peephole in the window. Not turning on any lights, not making any noise so that he wouldn't attract attention from the ISIS fighters.
But he would hear screams from his bedroom window, which overlooks this jail. And he would see people being dragged in. And he said he knows of at least six people that were killed there just in the past few weeks.>> In the weeks before the Iraqi army's assault, residents say IS rounded up and killed any civilians they saw as a threat.
>> They say thousands more were taken northwards to Mosul as human shields as the militants prepare to defend their final stronghold in Iraq.