Islamic State uses civilians as human shields in battle for Mosul: UN

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Miitants of the Islamic State are seen roaming across the city of Mosul in the northwestern Iraqi province of Nineveh. File photo

ARA News 

Geneva – As US-backed Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Army troops close in on Mosul city, they continue to unearth grave evidence of Islamic State (ISIS) human rights violations. The United Nations reported on Tuesday that the extremist group has recently executed dozens of civilians and used many more as human shields.

“We continue to receive information that reinforces the belief that ISIS militants are deliberately using civilians as human shields – forcing them to move to sites where ISIS fighters are based, or preventing them from leaving other places for strategic reasons,” said Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

ISIS reportedly killed 15 civilians on Monday in Safina, a village around 45 km south of Mosul. The jihadists threw their bodies in the river, apparently in an attempt to spread terror among the village’s remaining residents.

“On the afternoon of October 19, in the same village, ISIS reportedly tied six civilians to a vehicle by their hands and dragged them around the village, apparently simply because they were related to a particular tribal leader fighting against ISIS,” Coalville said.

He added that the six men were also allegedly beaten with sticks and gun butts. “It is not clear what happened to them subsequently,” Coalville added.

On October 20, Iraqi security forces reportedly discovered the bodies of 70 civilians inside houses in Tuloul Naser village, which is located in the same sub-District, some 35 km south of Mosul City. “The bodies had bullet wounds, but it is not known for sure at this point who was responsible for the killings,” the OHCHR said.

On October 22, ISIS militants shot dead three women and three young girls, and wounded a further four children from Rufeila village, which is located in the al-Qayyarah sub-District, south of Mosul.

“The victims were allegedly shot because they were trailing some 100 meters behind a group of other people from the same village who were being forced by ISIS to relocate,” the OHCHR spokesperson said. “The victims were lagging behind because one of the children had a disability […] and she was apparently amongst those shot and killed.”

On Sunday, ISIS reportedly killed 50 former Iraqi police officers that they had been defending their precinct, outside of Mosul city.

“We very much fear that these will not be the last reports we receive of such barbaric acts by ISIS,” Coalville said. “We repeat our call on Government forces and their allies to ensure their fighters do not take revenge on any of the civilians who escape from areas under ISIS control.”

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