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Credible reports indicate that at least 231 civilians attempting to flee western Mosul have been killed by ISIS fire since 26 May, including at least 204 over three days last week alone, the UN reported on Thursday.
“The UN Human Rights Office has been documenting ISIL’s use of civilians as human shields and its slaughter of those attempting to flee since the start of the Mosul operation, but recent reports indicate a significant escalation in such killings,” the UN said in a statement.
“On 26 May, ISIL reportedly shot at civilians trying to flee al-Shifa neighbourhood in western Mosul, killing 27 people, including 14 women and five children. Their bodies were reportedly buried two days later by neighbours,” the UN stated. Moreover, the UN reported other incidents, such us the killing of 163 civilians in the al-Shifa neighbourhood on 1 June, and on 3 June, ISIS shot at least 41 civilians in the same location, while they attempted to flee ISIS.
“Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families – there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said. “I call on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that those who are responsible for these horrors are held accountable and brought to justice in line with international human rights laws and standards. The victims of such terrible crimes must not be forgotten.”
“The murder of civilians, as well as the intentional directing of an attack against civilians who are not directly taking part in hostilities, are war crimes,” the UN said.
Furthermore, the UN said there are reports of civilian casualties by air strikes.
”The [UN] High Commissioner called on the Iraqi Security Forces and their Coalition partners to ensure that their operations comply fully with international humanitarian law and that all possible measures are taken to avoid the loss of civilian lives. He urged the Iraqi authorities to ensure that any allegations of human rights violations committed by Iraqi Security Forces are also fully investigated and those responsible held accountable,” the UN said.
Dave Eubank from the Free Burma Rangers also confirmed the reports in an email to ARA News. Eubank was operating with his group in West Mosul on 1 June.
“With God’s help, and Iraqi Army and police, and U.S. military, we were able to do the rescue. We saw over 50 shot dead by ISIS yesterday and today, and helped 30 shot people who managed to escape,” he said on 2 June.
“All last night people came crawling across the highway near the hospital near the first bridge. Early this morning we saw that at least four people were still alive including children, but ISIS controlled all access and swept the area by sniper, machine gun, mortar, and RPG fire. There was no way to help them even though they were only 150 yards away,” he said.
His group that is trying to help injured civilians, and tries to save civilians from ISIS, they have seen around 50 dead bodies spread out along the street. “Dead babies, mothers, and people of every age – and had been like this for two days in the blazing sun and ISIS shooting,” Eubank told ARA News.
However, due to the US providing support to his group and the Iraqi army, his group saved several civilians after the US provided a smoke screen in Western Mosul.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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