MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Militia organizations belonging to the Shia Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which include the Badr Brigades and the Hezbollah Brigades, as well as other groups, have taken part in killings, disappearances, torture and destruction against Sunni civilians without any effort on the part of the government to punish or investigate the abuses, HRW said in a statement.
Shia militias have already taken part in one major anti-Daesh offensive in the city of Fallujah, with Abadi stressing the unity between army units and militia formations as key to the victory. The victory was, however, immediately followed by a string of abuses committed against the local Sunni population, documented by HRW. These included beatings, arbitrary detention as well as dozens of executions and hundreds of disappearances, according to the human rights NGO.
“Militias that form part of the PMF have repeatedly carried out horrific, sometimes wide-scale abuses, most recently in Fallujah, with no consequences despite the government’s promises to investigate <…> Iraqi commanders shouldn't risk exposing Mosul civilians to serious harm by militias with a record of recent abuse," HRW Middle East Director Joe Stork was quoted as saying in the statement.
Iraqi forces are carrying out operations in the Nineveh governorate in preparation for an assault on Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city that has been under Daesh control since 2014. Daesh, which is a militant jihadist group outlawed in many countries, including Russia, overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014 amid the ongoing civil war in Syria.