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UN Condemns Use Of Human Shields In Iraq As Assault On Mosul Continues

  • RFE/RL

An Iraqi forces tank advances south of Mosul

An Iraqi forces tank advances south of Mosul

The UN Security Council has condemned the use of human shields in Iraq by Islamic State (IS) militants as fighting for the city of Mosul continues.

The council said in a statement after a closed-door meeting on November 2 that all sides fighting for Mosul must avoid hurting civilians.

The meeting was held to hear UN human rights and humanitarian aid officials' reports on the situation in Mosul as Iraqi forces reached the city's eastern outskirts on November 1.

The head of the Security Council, Senegali Deputy UN Ambassador Georgui Ciss, said reports of IS fighters taking thousands of civilians from their homes to be used as human shields has alarmed council members.

Iraqi special forces who began their assault on Mosul some two weeks ago spent November 2 consolidating their gains in the eastern part of the city.

Iraqi officials said eight IS militants were killed in Mosul on November 2 and that hundreds of residents had fled the city to safe areas.

Many Mosul citizens were seen shaving the beards they were forced to grow while IS controlled the city.

Many shops were boarded up in Mosul's easternmost district of Gogjali, while others had been destroyed by artillery shells.

General Abdul-Ghani al-Asadi, commander of the counterterrorism forces, said a curfew had been ordered in the neighborhood.

South of Mosul, progress has lagged with Iraqi forces still 30 kilometers away from Mosul.

But Iraqi police forces said they had captured four villages in the Hamam al-Alil area from IS militants.

Mosul is the extremist group's last major stronghold in Iraq. It seized the city in 2014 and has imposed its harsh form of Islam on Mosul residents.

Many observers are concerned about the fate of civilians caught in the fighting in Mosul after reports that IS militants were rounding up thousands of people as human shields and killing those suspected of links to Iraqi security forces.

The Norwegian Refugee Council warned that more than 1 million civilians trapped in Mosul "are in grave danger" as Iraqi troops advance.

The aid group said about 18,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the October 17 start of the Mosul operation.

Separately, Amnesty International said tribal Sunni fighters taking part in the Mosul fighting had killed men and boys in newly captured areas that they suspected of being IS militants.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP
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