Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants shot dead 163 civilians who were trying to flee battlefields in Mosul, the United Nations said on Tuesday, confirming recurrent reports of targeted killings of civilians by the extremist group.
“The brutality of Daesh and other terrorist groups seemingly knows no bounds. Yesterday, my staff reported to me that bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women and children are still lying on the streets of the al-Shira neighbourhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh on 1 June to prevent them from fleeing,” Zaid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the U.N. Human Rights Council. “My staff have also received reports of missing persons from this neighborhood”.
News of civilians being targeted by gunfire or executed upon fleeing areas of encounters between IS and Iraqi forces have been recurrent since a U.S.-backed campaign launched in October to retake Mosul.
While hundreds have been killed in action by IS and also by mistaken Iraqi and coalition airstrikes, others remain stranded in IS-controlled areas amid acute food and medicine shortages.
The United Nations says there are at least 200.000 civilians trapped in the Old City, the last IS entrenchment in western Mosul where the group first proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate” in 2014.
The war against IS in Mosul has so far displaced at least 700.000 civilians, with hundreds of thousands others not registered at refugee camps, according to U.N. and Iraqi government figures. There are more than four million homeless since IS emerged in 2014.