11:23 GMT31 May 2020
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    Daesh forces have executed 284 people in Mosul, including dozens of children, as they fight to keep their grip on the city.

    The men and boys are reported to have been rounded up over October 20 and 21 and brought in three waves to the city's former College of Agriculture, where they were shot and then dumped in mass graves. Iraqi News reports that the victims were residents of towns and villages in the city’s northwest outskirts, and that 61 of them were no more than 14 years old.

    As the Iraqi army and supporting forces continue the battle launched this week to retake Daesh's capital in Iraq, there is widespread fear that the militants inside the city will use captive residents as human shields or simply murder them rather than allow them to be liberated. There are also worries that Daesh will use chemical weapons indiscriminately as their hold on the city weakens, leaving residents without protection vulnerable.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued a statement October 21 calling for all militaries to make protecting citizens a priority. 

    "We are gravely worried by reports that ISIL is using civilians in and around Mosul as human shields as the Iraqi forces advance, keeping civilians close to their offices or places where fighters are located, which may result in civilian casualties," he said, expressing particular concern for members of ethnic or religious minority groups in the captive city.

    "There is a grave danger that ISIL fighters will not only use such vulnerable people as human shields but may opt to kill them rather than see them liberated," Zeid said.

    The human rights official also said his office had verified several incidents of Daesh forcing people in outlying villages to leave their homes and move to Mosul, as well as instances of Daesh killing civilians who are suspected of being disloyal or who have tried to organize resistance.

    There are estimated to be 750,000 people in Mosul now, and aid agencies have warned that the new offensive will exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation in the city. 


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    war crimes, execution, children, Iraqi armed forces, Daesh, Mosul, Iraq
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