The United Nations’ human rights chief says the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group executed 163 civilians last week to prevent them from fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul, where the army is leading a counterterrorism operation.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein released the figure during an opening address to the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday.
“Yesterday, my staff reported to me that bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women, and children still lay on the streets of the al-Shira neighborhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh to prevent them from fleeing,” he said, adding that there were also reports of missing people from the district.
The UN official further warned that “the brutality of Daesh and other terrorist groups seemingly knows no bounds.”
Meanwhile, Hussein’s spokesman Rupert Colville told AFP that the Mosul killings were believed to have taken place on June 1.
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq.
The Iraqi army soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have been leading a major operation to recapture the city since October 2016. They took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February.
The Mosul liberation operation has taken longer than planned as Takfiri elements are scattered among civilians, using bombings, sniper fire, and mortar attacks to slow the advance of the Iraqi forces.
About 700,000 people have already fled Mosul, but up to 200,000 civilians are still trapped in harrowing conditions in the city’s Daesh-controlled areas.
The full liberation of the city would strip the terrorist group of its last urban stronghold in Iraq.