An Iranian-backed Shiite militia released a video Oct. 15 portraying themselves as saviors of Iraq’s Christian community in Mosul.
— Iraqi PMU English (@pmu_english) October 15, 2016
The video is particularly ironic because Shiite militias are famous in Iraq for sectarian slaughter. Their participation in the Iraqi campaign to retake territory from the Islamic State, has garnered significant scrutiny from human rights advocates.
Human Rights Watch noted possible war crimes by Shiite militias in January, 2016:
Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State
Beyond sectarian slaughter, the militias are also accused of employing child soldiers on the battlefield. Human Rights Watch warned in August, 2016, that several eye-witnesses recounted seeing competing militias offering salaries, and carting young boys out of refugee camps in trucks to the battlefield. ISIS consistently uses child soldiers in Iraq and Syria, and prominently features child executioners in its propaganda videos.
During the U.S. backed effort to retake the city of Ramadi from ISIS, Iranian-backed militias played a key role in retaking the city. After retaking the city, the militias maintained a presence in the area and reportedly targeted Sunni civilians.
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