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Allegations of war crimes by Iraqi forces in the battle for Mosul

The Iraqi military may have carried out executions of civilian men and boys fleeing Mosul as they sought to recapture the city from the Islamic State, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) this week.

“As Iraqi forces are poised to retake the entire city of Mosul, allegations of unlawful killings and beatings significantly raise concerns for the civilians there who have been living under ISIS control,” said deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch Lama Fakih. “Iraqi forces are promising liberation, but they need to find out what’s happening now and stop any abuse.”

HRW stated that numerous eye witnesses have reported allegations of executions and beatings by Iraqi security forces.

“I have heard of countless abuses and executions in this battle,” one witness told the human rights organisation. “But what’s changed is that in this final phase fighters are no longer hiding what they are doing and are comfortable allowing us to witness the abuses first-hand.” 

“Reports of unlawful executions and beatings by Iraqi soldiers should be enough to raise concern among the highest ranks in Baghdad and among members of the international coalition combatting ISIS,” said Lama Fakih. “Iraqi officials should translate that concern into accountability for war crimes.”

See more from HRW here.