A U.N. report has revealed that violence in Iraq has seen a staggering rise since ISIS forces have captured large patches of the region. Ever since the rise of the terror group about 21 months ago, nearly 19,000 civilians have been killed, while more than 3 million have been displaced, making the conflict one of the bloodiest in recent times.
A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has indicated about 19,000 civilians were killed, while over 35,000 were injured after ISIS reared its head in Iraq. All this mayhem has been orchestrated by the terror group within just 21 months. The report comes amidst relentless airstrikes carried out by U.S. led coalition, Iraq’s security forces, and Russia to weaken the Islamic State, reported Al Jazeera. Within just six months, between May and October last year, there have been 10,000 civilian casualties of the war. Speaking about the current situation in Iraq, U.N. envoy Jan Kubis said the following.
“Despite their steady losses to pro-government forces, the scourge of ISIL continues to kill, maim and displace Iraqi civilians in the thousands and to cause untold suffering.”
ISIS had recently managed to take over large areas of a city in Syria that was strategically critical for them. The terrorist organization, who intends to impose its strict and radical version of sharia law, is hell bent on establishing a caliphate in the region and it is quite apparent that there are no lows the group won’t sink to in their barbaric quest.
A statement from OHCHR about the report revealed that, between January, 2014, and October, 2015, about 18,802 civilians were intentionally massacred. In the same time period, 3.2 million people have been forced to abandon their homes and flee the region for their safety.
“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering. The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL or ISIS) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”
Despite the appalling figures, the actual civilian death toll could be far worse, said U.N. human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein.
“Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq.”
Besides the killings and mass exodus, for which ISIS can be directly attributed, the terror group is known to commit a wide range of human rights abuses, reports the New York Times. The group regularly forces civilians into slavery. Though the official figures vary, there are almost 4,000 people that have been forced into slavery by the terror group. Many of the civilians are women and children. While the children serve as laborers, the women are sexually abused and even sold as sex slaves. Besides the mass abduction of women and children belonging to the Yazidi religious minority in 2014, ISIS recently kidnapped about 900 children from Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, reported International Business Times. While the exact intentions of the terror group remain unclear, experts believe the children might be trained to use firearms and brainwashed into becoming militants. Known as child soldiers, these little kids are often killed if they attempt to flee.
Regional experts strongly believe that the violence has now become deeply entrenched within the minds and hearts of Iraqi people, who have been fundamentally altered amidst the relentless terror and torture tactics that ISIS is infamous for.
The ISIS is accused of orchestrating war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq and other regions like Syria, concludes the U.N report. With mounting fears that ISIS now possesses and intends to use lethal chlorine gas and such other “dirty” weaponry, the dangers the regional people face is horrifying.
[Photo by Taylor Luck/The Washington Post/Getty Images]