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Children among over 230 civilians shot dead in Mosul - UN

08 giugno 2017 | 18.35
LETTURA: 3 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Islamic State militants have shot dead over 231 civilians including children trying to flee the beleaguered Iraqi city of Mosul in the past two weeks, the United Nations said on Thursday, calling the killings "despicable" war crimes.

IS fighters reportedly shot at civilians attempting to escape from western Mosul's al-Shifa district on 26 May, killing 27 people, including 14 women and five children, the UN human rights office said.

The victims' bodies were reportedly buried two days later by neighbours.

"Credible reports indicate that more than 231 civilians attempting to flee western Mosul have been killed since 26 May, including at least 204 over three days last week alone," the UN human rights office said in a statement.

"Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families - there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts," the statement quoted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein as saying.

"The murder of civilians, as well as the intentional directing of an attack against civilians who are not directly taking part in hostilities, are war crimes," the UN human rights office said

The UN body said it had received reports of a "significant escalation" of civilian deaths in the almost nine-month battle to oust IS from its stronghold of Mosul.

IS militants reportedly shot and killed at least 163 civilians, including women, men and children, next to a Pepsi factory in al-Shifa on 1 June, who were reportedly fleeing fighting between IS and Iraqi forces.

The bodies of those who died were reportedly left on the street for several days after the killings and an undetermined number of civilians went missing, the UN human rights office reported.

Two days later, IS reportedly shot and killed at least 41 civilians in al-Shifa as they tried to flee towards Iraqi army positions, the UN body said.

The UN human rights office also said it was investigating reports that between 50 and 80 civilians had died in an air strike on Mosul's Zanjili district of on 31 May.

Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began an offensive on May 27 to capture remaining IS-held areas of the western side of the city, where 100,000-200,000 people are trapped in desperate conditions.

Pro-government forces launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October with the support of a US-led multinational coalition.

IS overran Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, in July 2014 during a lightening campaign when it captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and established a so-called 'Islamic caliphate' there with Mosul as its capital.

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