World Bulletin / News Desk
Men wearing federal police uniforms tortured and executed civilians in villages south of Mosul during an ongoing oepration to retake the city from ISIL, according to Amnesty according an allegation denied by Iraq's authorities.
In its special report, researchers from Amnesty visited several villages in the al-Shura and al-Qayyara sub-districts of Ninewa governorate, south-west and south of Mosul, and gathered evidence indicating that up to six people were extrajudicially executed in late October, apparently due to suspicions they had ties to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS).
“Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office.
“Deliberately killing captives and other defenceless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime. It is crucial that the Iraqi authorities carry out prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations into these crimes under international law, and bring those responsible to justice. Without effective measures to suppress and punish serious violations, there is a real risk that we could see war crimes of this kind repeated in other Iraqi villages and towns during the Mosul offensive.”
Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake the country's second city from ISIL on October 17, and the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) special forces have pushed the rebels back from some Mosul neighbourhoods.
But there are still weeks if not months of fighting ahead in the battle to recapture the last IS-held Iraqi city, and aid workers have warned that displacement may spike as Iraqi troops push deeper into Mosul.
"The fighting is intense this morning. We're trying to fortify our positions in Arbajiyah before continuing our attack into Al-Bakr," said Staff Lieutenant Colonel Muntadhar Salem of CTS, referring to two Mosul areas.
Salem later clarified that the aim was to surround Al-Bakr but not to assault it for now.
Staff Lieutenant Colonel Ali Fadhel also confirmed that objective, saying: "We... are advancing towards Al-Bakr so that we can surround it."
"There were three car bombs coming out from Al-Bakr toward our positions that we spotted with our drone and hit with our tanks," Salem said.
The rebels are also using drones for observation, one of which was shot down by CTS forces, Fadhel said.
As fighting raged deeper in the city, civilians, some of them carrying white flags, walked toward its outskirts, gathering near an Iraqi military truck that would take them out of the city to safety.
More than 49,000 people have been displaced since the Mosul operation began, the International Organisation for Migration said on Saturday.
Aid workers have said that a million or more people could be displaced by the battle for Mosul, meaning that the worst may still be ahead.
Last Mod: 12 Kasım 2016, 14:20