Over 1,900 Iraqi security forces killed by ISIS as fight for Mosul rages

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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters targeting ISIS positions in Mosul suburb. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil – At least 1,959 members of the Iraqi security forces have been killed since the launch of the anti-ISIS Mosul operation on 17 October, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

“The number of civilians killed in November was 926, and the number of civilians injured was 930. Fifty-two foreign civilians were killed and 31 injured in November,” UNAMI said.

“A total of 1,959 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, including police engaged in combat functions, Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army, not including Anbar Operations. Also, 450 others were injured,” the UN organization said.

According to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Ján Kubiš, the casualty figures are staggering in northern Iraq, with civilians accounting for a significant number of the victims.

“In its desperate attempt to cling on to territory it controls in Mosul and Nineveh areas, Daesh [ISIS] has been employing the most vicious tactics, using civilian homes as firing positions as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields” Kubiš said.

ISIS Capital Under Fire

Mosul is considered a de facto capital for ISIS in Iraq. The group took over the city in June 2014, and immediately afterwards ISIS announced its self-proclaimed Caliphate.

On October 17th, 2016, the Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched a major battle for Mosul to liberate the city and its surroundings from ISIS.

Backed by an air cover from the US-led coalition, the Iraqi forces have recently took control of major towns in Mosul countryside beside recapturing several neighbourhoods in the city–which is deemed the main ISIS bastion in Iraq.

The Iraqi Army General Command announced in November that more than 2,000 Islamic State jihadists have been killed since the start of the battle for Mosul.

Human Shields

The United Nations reported that ISIS extremists have been using civilians as human shields in the fight for Mosul.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 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.

According to the OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, 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.

Reporting by: Ehmed Shiwesh and Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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