Site where Iraqi forces executed civilians discovered in Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq (Kurdistan 24) – A site in western Mosul where Iraqi forces allegedly executed civilians has been discovered, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Wednesday.
The US-based organization revealed the site was brought to its attention as the Iraqi government currently deals with accusations of human rights violations while battling the Islamic State (IS).
HRW said international observers, “whose evidence has proven reliable in the past,” told them the area was discovered on Monday at about 3:30 p.m.
A shopkeeper in a neighborhood west of Mosul’s Old City directed the observers to an empty building where “17 male corpses, barefoot but in civilian dress, [were] surrounded by pools of blood,” according to HRW.
“They said many appeared to have been blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs,” the organization added.
HRW said the shopkeeper had told observers the Iraqi Security Forces’ 16th Division, discernable by their badges and vehicles, were seen in the neighborhood.
The troops were in the area last week where multiple gunshots were heard coming from the empty building, according to the shopkeeper.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the defeat of IS in Mosul earlier this month, ending the militant group’s reign in the country.
During the 10-month military operation, human rights groups pressed Baghdad to investigate human rights abuses by Iraqi forces.
Sarah Leah Whitson criticized the Iraqi PM for disregarding accusations of rights violations against civilians.
“As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” she said.
As Mosul slowly begins to recover from the fight, the campaign’s impact is emerging and groups are warning impunity could stoke sectarian tensions anew.
“The horrors that the people of Mosul have witnessed and the disregard for human life by all parties to this conflict must not go unpunished,” Lynn Maalouf, research director for Amnesty International in the Middle East, said.
Editing by G.H. Renaud