Fighting Rages in Kirkuk, ISIS Uses Mosul Civilians as Human Shields
Kurdish forces gather after ISIS forces militants a major attack on the city of Kirkuk, Iraq, October 21, 2016
Erbil-Security forces battled for a second day Saturday with ISIS terrorists who infiltrated Kirkuk in a raid that shook Iraq as it ramped up an offensive to retake Mosul.
A day after the shock attack on the Kurdish-controlled city, extremist snipers and suspected suicide bombers were still at large, prompting Baghdad to send reinforcements.
Kirkuk’s Brig.Gen. told Asharq Al-Awast newspaper that ISIS militiamen had attacked three police buildings and the headquarters of a political party in Kirkuk.
“All of the militants who attacked the police emergency building and the old building of the Kirkuk police directorate have been killed but a number of other militants are still in Dumez district,” he said.
U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad said that his office has received reports on hundreds of civilians being detained near fighting zones in Mosul. It is very likely that ISIS will be using civilians as human shields to face off the advance of Iraqi forces into its stronghold.
It is interesting to note that incidents of Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMF) militiamen staging violations against Mosul civilians have been recorded.
The PMF is a Shi’ite paramilitary force forcefully partaking in the offensive on Mosul, ISIS’ last major stronghold in Iraq, raising the risk of sectarian strife in the mainly Sunni region.
Footage shows PMF militants carrying out child abuse and subjecting minors to investigations.
Amnesty International on Tuesday published a report saying Shi’ite militias had committed “serious human rights violations, including war crimes” against civilians fleeing ISIS-held territory.
The United Nations said in July it had a list of more than 640 Sunni Muslim men and boys reportedly abducted by a Shi’ite militia in Falluja, a former militant stronghold west of Baghdad, and about 50 others who were summarily executed or tortured to death.
The government and the PMF say a limited number of violations did occur and were investigated, but they deny the abuses were widespread and systematic.
Iraqi officials and residents of Mosul say Islamic State is preventing people from leaving the city but civilians are fleeing from outlying districts and villages.
The United Nations has warned that some 100,000 people may arrive in Syria from the Mosul area. Save the Children said on Wednesday about 5,000 people, mostly women and children, had arrived at the Al Hol camp in Syria in the last 10 days.
“At least a thousand more are now massing at the border waiting to cross,” the organization said in a statement.
(Source / 22.10.2016)