Over 200 civilians killed last week trying to escape IS: UN
MOSUL, Iraq (Kurdistan24) – Over 231 civilians attempting to escape ongoing battles in western Mosul have died since May 26, according to a statement by the UN Human Rights Office.
At least 204 people were killed over three days last week alone as fighting in the Old City of Mosul intensified against Islamic State (IS) militants.
“The UN Human Rights Office has been documenting IS’ use of civilians as human shields and its slaughter of those attempting to flee since the start of the Mosul operation,” the statement read.
“Recent reports indicate a significant escalation in such killings,” the report continued.
In remaining pockets of the once IS-held Old City, the insurgent group’s snipers are reportedly targeting civilians who are trying to escape toward Iraqi Armed Forces’ locations.
“On May 26, IS killed 27 people, including 14 women and five children, fleeing al-Shifa neighborhood in western Mosul,” the statement informed.
On June 1, also in al-Shifa, the militants reportedly shot and killed at least 163 civilians, including women, men, and children, and another 41 two days later.
“The bodies of those who died were reportedly left on the street for several days following the killings,” the UN Human Rights Office reported.
The statement also added that an “undetermined number” of civilians have gone missing.
“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,” he added.
“The victims of such terrible crimes must not be forgotten,” Hussein emphasized.
In its statement, the UN Human Rights Office also raised concerns about the death of 50-80 civilians in an air strike on the Zanjili district on May 31.
In late May, Iraqi troops began advancing on the remaining parts of western Mosul, IS’ last major stronghold in the country.
The UN and other aid groups repeatedly expressed their concern over the safety of civilians who remain stuck in the city.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany