#MosulOps: IS crucifies Iraqis, government forces 'kill and torture'

#MosulOps: IS crucifies Iraqis, government forces 'kill and torture'
Civilians in Mosul face limited choices as Iraqi forces advance, with IS asserting its control in the city and escape routes potentially pitted with landmines, airstrikes and reprisal attacks
3 min read
10 November, 2016
Iraqi forces are accused of torturing and murdering civilians suspected of links to IS [Getty]
Civilians fleeing Mosul have been killed and tortured by Iraqi forces, it has been claimed, as Islamic State militants assert their grip on the city with crucifixions and 'morality patrols'.

Iraqis caught in the crossfire have found themselves at the mercy of IS militants still in charge of the city, or risking their lives as they flee - with thousands of landmines littering their escape route or heavy-handed government forces allegedly torturing those suspected of links to the extremist group.

Amnesty International said "up to six" people were found dead last month in the Shura and Qayyarah sub-districts who security forces suspected of ties to IS.

"Men in federal police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul," said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty's Beirut office.

Amnesty's report described several incidents on or around October 21 in which separate groups of men were beaten with cables and rifle butts before being shot to death. In one case, a man's head had been severed from his body, it said.

Without accountability, the alleged abuses risked being repeated in other towns and villages as the Mosul offensive continues, Amnesty said.

A spokesman for Iraq's Interior Ministry denied there had been any violations and said Iraqi forces respect human rights and international law.

Meanwhile inside the besieged city, five crucified bodies were hung at a road junction on Tuesday, residents told Reuters.

Others were seen hanging from electricity poles and traffic signals around Mosul, a clear message to the city's remaining residents that the militants are still in charge, and a warning against potential informants to government forces.

IS' Hisba force, its 'morality police' unit which imposes the hard-line Sunni interpretation of Islamic behaviour, has also been patrolling, checking the length of men's beards, and enforcing its bans on smoking and Western-style dress.

In another sign of a clampdown on contact with the outside world, one retired policeman said IS officials were trying to inspect SIM cards to check on all communications.

The scale of the clashes has recently been relatively calm, said residents, since US-backed Iraqi forces broke into eastern Mosul a week ago.

However dangers await the remaining 1.5 millions residents in Mosul.

The Pentagon on Thursday revealed that its anti-IS airstrikes in Iraq and Syria over the past two years may have killed 119 civilians.

However the figure released by Centcom, the US military command in the Middle East, after a months-long review of 24 air strikes is far lower than estimates by monitoring groups.

London-based NGO Airways estimates coalition bombing has killed 1,787 civilians since August 2014.

Colonel John Thomas said the US, which carries out 80 percent of the coalition bombing, uses precision-guided munitions that "limit civilian casualties".