Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants had used a major hospital in the city of Mosul as a military base for two years, Human Rights Watch said in a report Wednesday, renewing condemnation of the group’s use of medical facilities as defense bases.
Al-Salam hospital, located in al-Wahda district, saw the fiercest battles between the group and Iraqi security forces since the launch of security operations to retake Mosul mid October.
“A staff member at al-Salam Hospital in Wahda neighbourhood of eastern Mosul said that when ISIS took control of Mosul, it set up a consistent presence of about 10 fighters inside the hospital, and took over its administration,” HRW’s report said.
“As the battle for Mosul unfolds, we are finding that ISIS is regularly occupying medical facilities and placing civilians and staff there at risk of incoming attacks,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
The organization quoted residents as saying that a few after intense battles with security, IS fighters publicly dragged the dead bodies of seven Iraqi soldiers along the streets in the hospital’s vicinity.
HRW has regularly condemned human rights violations by all parties to the conflict in Iraq, including government forces and allied Shia militias.
It had previously said IS used a clinic in Hammam al-Alil, eastern Mosul, as a military facility before a botched airstrike killed eight civilians there.
Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul from IS on January 24th and are awaiting orders to invade the group-held west.