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Friday, 28 October 2016

Mosul: ISIS uses tens of thousands as ‘human shields’

 ISIS appears to be using tens of thousands of people as “human shields” in and around Mosul, where Iraqi forces are waging a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking the country’s second largest city, the UN human rights office said Friday.


It has received reports of more than 200 people being killed for refusing to comply with ISIS orders or previously belonging to Iraqi security forces. It said “credible reports” suggest ISIS has been forcing tens of thousands from their homes in districts around Mosul.

“ISIL’s depraved, cowardly strategy is to attempt to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations, effectively using tens of thousands of women, men and children as human shields,” spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said in Geneva.

She said 232 people, mostly former officers, were reportedly shot Wednesday, and 24 on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that ISIS militants were going door to door in villages south of Mosul, ordering hundreds of civilians at gunpoint on a forced march north into the city, apparently using them as human shields.

  • UN: 232 killed near Mosul

ISIS militants, meanwhile, slaughtered at least 232 people in and around Mosul this week as Iraqi troops advanced on the city, the UN rights office said Friday.

“Last Wednesday 232 civilians were reportedly shot to death. Of these there were 190 former Iraqi Security Forces officers,” rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

“These reports have been corroborated to the extent possible,” she added, stressing that the number of people killed in recent days could be higher.

Shamdasani said the execution-style killings came as ISIS was pushing forward with its strategy of forcing people living near the northern Iraqi city into Mosul, the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

Iraq launched a massive operation on Oct. 17 aimed at retaking Mosul, which fell to ISIS in a matter of days in the summer of 2014. Iraqi forces are advancing from several directions, but are still well outside the city itself.

The UN and rights groups have expressed fear that more than 200,000 civilians could be displaced in the opening weeks of the offensive. Mosul is still home to more than a million people.

ISIS has built up elaborate defenses on the outskirts of the city, including an extensive tunnel network, and has planted large numbers of explosive booby traps to slow the troops’ progress.
 [alarabiya.net]
28/10/16

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