ISIS Massacring Civilians Fleeing Battle for Iraq's Mosul, UN Says

Top UN rights official says ISIS is 'shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families'

Iraqi soldiers help residents displaced by fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants in Mosul's al-Zanjili's district, Iraq, June 7, 2017.
ERIK DE CASTRO/REUTERS

ISIS extremists in Iraq have recently carried out two more mass killings against fleeing civilians in the battle for Mosul, in addition to last week's massacre that left 163 dead, the UN Human Rights Office reported Thursday.

Members of ISIS have been using civilians as human shields and have been killing those who try to flee the ISIS stronghold as Iraqi government forces are fighting to take control of the city, the Geneva-based office said.

On May 26, the extremists group shot and killed 27 people, including women and children, who were trying to flee Mosul's al-Shifa neighborhood, the UN rights office said, citing what it described as "credible reports."

Last Saturday, ISIS fighters killed at least 41 civilians in the same neighborhood as they were fleeing toward positions held by Iraqi security forces.

The UN rights office reported earlier this week that at least 163 people had died at the hands of ISIS in a similar incident in al-Shifa last Thursday.

"Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families - there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Zeid's office also reported that an airstrike against another area held by ISIS in Mosul killed between 50 and 80 civilians in Mosul's Zanjili district on Wednesday last week.

The UN rights chief urged Iraqi authorities and its U.S.-led allies to avoid civilian deaths.