The Islamic State slaughtered 163 civilians in just one day last week to prevent them from fleeing from their territory in the city of Mosul, a senior UN official announced Tuesday.
“Bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women and children still lay on the streets of the al-Shira neighborhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh to prevent them from fleeing,” UN official Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein told the international body Tuesday.
The brutal executions come amid the last throes of defense by ISIS in Mosul. The Iraqi Security Forces have begun their final assault on the city but are encountering a fierce and bloody resistance. The battle for Mosul has raged on for nearly seven months and has cost thousands of lives of soldiers and civilians.
The terrorist group has used civilians as human shields consistently throughout the Mosul campaign and continues to control tens of thousands of people. The UN warned that 100,000 children remain at risk in the last breaths of the campaign and fear the group will continue to use them as human shields.
“If there were no civilians you wouldn’t even have to ask me about a timeline, because we would go right in,” a Iraqi general told The Wall Street Journal with respect to how long it will take to complete the operation.
The U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces predicted the civilian deaths and spike in violence in the last days for the campaign. U.S. Army Col. Patrick Work warned that the final phase of the Mosul operation would be “extremely violent” adding that “the hardest days are still in front of them.”
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