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Hundreds of civilians reportedly killed while attempting to flee Mosul
June 24 2017, 05:12 | Irvin Gilbert
Smoke rises from the old city during a battle against Islamic State militants in Mosul Iraq
ISIS has killed at least 231 civilians fleeing the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul in the space of eight days, according to a United Nations report published Thursday.
"Sources reported that the civilians were fleeing armed clashes between ISIL and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)".
"The brutality of Daesh [ISIL] and other terrorist groups seemingly knows no bounds", said Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein, the UN's human rights chief, said in his opening address to the UN Human Rights Council.
Targeting civilians "who are not directly taking part in hostilities, are war crimes", the statement added.
Several rights organizations are warning that large numbers of civilians are being killed and injured in western Mosul because Iraqi and US -backed coalition forces are relying on the use of heavy weapons.
After days of shelling by Iraqi forces, some 200 residents made a decision to take their chances and flee from one of the last pockets of Mosul controlled by the Islamic State group.
A United Nations report Thursday outlines that the Islamic State Group, also known as ISIS, has killed at least 231 people in Mosul, Iraq in the past two weeks. On June 3, the group surrendered the northwestern Iraqi town of Baaj, near to Mosul. Images published by media outlets and the U.S. military also depict USA forces and Iraqi forces firing mortars and unguided artillery rockets into western Mosul.
Backed by the USA -led global coalition, Iraq last October launched a wide-scale military offensive to recapture Mosul and the surrounding areas, with various Iraqi military, police and paramilitary forces taking part in the operation.
The terrorist group has used civilians as human shields consistently throughout the Mosul campaign and continues to control tens of thousands of people.
Smoke billows from buildings following a reported vehicle bomb in western Mosul's Zanjili neighbourhood.
But there is also urgency in completing the capture of the city, which has been under ISIS' yoke since 2014, and where civilians are suffering the most.
Federal police members battle with ISIS militants at Bab al-Beed district in the old city of Mosul, Iraq, March 31, 2017.
The Telegraph article notes that many local officers of the National Security Service "have stories of relatives killed by the militants"; one of them bluntly stated he knows who the vigilantes are but will not intervene.
As the fighting intensifies and ISIS increases its use of civilians as shields, anti-ISIS forces should use all available means to verify the presence and location of civilians in the immediate vicinity of any fighters or military objectives targeted. It breaches the most basic standards of human dignity and morality.
The increased level of civilian deaths comes nearly eight months into the offensive to retake the city by pro-government forces, backed by a USA -led multinational coalition.