Daesh terrorists have abducted tens of thousands of civilians from near Mosul to use them as human shields as government forces inch closer to the city proper in an operation to retake it, the UN says.
UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the terrorist group also killed at least 232 people on Wednesday, including 190 former Iraqi security forces and 40 civilians, who refused to obey its orders.
“Many of them who refused to comply were shot on the spot,” Shamdasani said in Geneva, citing reports corroborated by the UN that were “by no means comprehensive but indicative of violations.”
As the news emerged, Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi volunteers said they were set to launch an offensive against Daesh west of Mosul imminently.
Ahmad al-Assadi, a spokesman for the popular forces, confirmed that the fighters had completed preparations to move in the direction of Tal Afar, a Daesh-held city 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
He added that the fighters would move to capture Tal Afar from their positions in the Iraqi town of Qayyara, situated some 60 kilometers south of Mosul.
“A few days or hours separate us from the launch of operations there,” Asadi said.
Iraqi forces liberated three key areas from Daesh terrorists east of Mosul. Army officials said troops also seized a tank and artillery from the terrorists, and found a two-kilometer-long tunnel full of ammunition.
The army is edging closer to Mosul by liberating villages around the city. Nearly 80 Daesh-held towns and villages have been retaken by the army since the Iraqi forces began the battle to liberate Mosul last week.