Amid battle for Mosul, ISIS forcing civilians ‘squarely in harm’s way,’ UN warns

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ISIS militants prepare to execute an old Iraqi man in the city of Mosul. File photo

Geneva (UN) – As the Iraqi military intensifies its operations to wrest Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today warned that it continues to receive reports of “serious breaches” of international human rights and humanitarian law by ISIS in and around the war-torn city.

“We are deeply worried about the fate of hundreds of people who have reportedly being abducted by ISIS and moved to unknown locations,” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters at a press briefing in Geneva.

“ISIS is also continuing to abduct and forcibly move civilians, and to kill those it suspects of leaking information to the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces],” she said.

Shamdasani added that ISIS has been installing rocket launchers and placing snipers on the rooftops of civilian homes, while also threatening to kill those who refuse to cooperate.

“These families are effectively used as human shields, placed squarely in harm’s way, caught between ISIS and Iraqi Security Force fire responding to rocket and sniper attacks,” she said.

Just two weeks ago, ISIS shot and killed 12 civilians in Bakir for allegedly refusing to help launch rockets from the rooftops of their houses, and 27 civilians in Muhandiseen Park, in northern Mosul. In addition, a seven-year-old child was shot in Adan neighbourhood when running towards the ISF, the agency reported.

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