The United Nations has said the ISIS militants have captured up to 3,000 people displaced from their homes trying to flee conflict zones in northern Iraq, reportedly killing 12 of them. The UN refugee agency said yesterday that it had received reports that ISIS rounded up the thousands of internally displaced people on Thursday from villages as they tried to escape to the city of Kirkuk, reports CNN.
“Reportedly, 12 of the IDPs (internally displaced people) have been killed in captivity,” the agency said in its daily Iraq update. The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights also said on Thursday that an estimated 100 to 120 ISIS militants had captured around 1,900 civilians, whom they were using as human shields in fighting the Iraqi forces.
The move is the latest by ISIS militants to retain their grasp on swaths of the country as Iraqi forces, backed by US-led airstrikes, try to recapture Mosul, ISIS’ most significant stronghold outside Syria.
The operation to liberate Mosul has been underway for months and involves coordination between Iraq’s military, Kurdish forces and the US-led airstrikes. According to UN data there are more than four million internally displaced persons in Iraq.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had earlier said that the ISIS had committed “heinous crimes” that may constitute war crimes and genocide.