The Islamic State has just captured 3,000 people trying to escape violence in northern Iraq, and the terror group has already apparently killed 12 of them.
The Iraqis were captured while fleeing the city of Kirkuk, according to a Thursday statement from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR).
“UNHCR has received reports that ISIL captured on 4 August up to 3,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) from villages in Hawiga District in Kirkuk Governorate trying to flee to Kirkuk city. Reportedly, 12 of the IDPs have been killed in captivity,” the UN’s report said.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights also estimated Thursday that approximately 1,900 Iraqi civilians had been captured by about 100-120 ISIS fighters before the Iraqis were able to reach Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
Although ISIS has been shrinking under the weight of U.S.-led coalition forces, the group still has control over Mosul in Iraq. Although plans have been in the works for months to take back the city, ISIS continues to hold Mosul, even as life begins to return to normal elsewhere in Iraq.
Approximately 300,000 civilians have already begun to return to cities like Ramadi that were formerly under ISIS’ heavy-handed rule.
A U.S. military official said Wednesday ISIS fighters in Mosul were starting to lose morale.
“We see them weakening inside Mosul,” coalition spokesman Army Col. Chris Garver said. “We do see some indications that morale is lower.”
Part of the reason for the loss of morale is senior ISIS commanders executing subordinates. The same sort of internal panic occurred in cities like Fallujah and Ramadi before they were recaptured, according to Garver.
But loss of a certain amount of morale doesn’t mean taking back Mosul will be an easy fight.
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