The attempts of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to contain the population of besieged Mosul, Iraq, have been well documented over the past year, but the extremist organization may have reached an ethical low point with the latest tactic of fear -- having snipers shoot escaping children in order to convince those trying to leave the battle-torn city to remain.
Iraqi News reported last week that ISIS snipers have killed at least 15 children of refugees fleeing the ISIS-held area of Mosul. According to a security source, the refugees were attempting to reach locations taken over by Iraqi security forces inside the city itself.
"ISIS snipers killed 15 kids belonging to Mosul refugees who were heading to security forces," the source told Alsumaria News. The did time frame for the alleged killings was not made clear, however, so it is uncertain if the alleged shootings occurred during a single incident or if the 15 children killed were shot over a given period of time.
However, Al Masdar News noted that the snipers had opened fire on the children during a "massive offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the city." The children had been alongside "their families when they were struck by the terrorist snipers."
The anonymous source also noted that snipers firing at refugee children was not the only method ISIS was using to try and contain the citizens of Mosul.
"ISIS gangs have used the most horrific means of killing with the migrating people of Mosul, targeting them with IEDs, sniping their children to prevent them from leaving town and using them as human shields."
Not that the methods should be of any surprise to anyone with a brief knowledge of ISIS's draconian methods of ensuring that those that reside within its claimed territory do not gain exit.
One of the more horrific cases along these lines was reported in July. According to the Inquisitr, it was revealed that a family of three, including a 2-year-old girl, had been attempting to flee an area under ISIS control but had been captured by a patrol in the mountains as they made their way to another village. The small family was placed in a cage in a public square and burned alive.
As the Islamic State's hold on Mosul loosens, members of its own forces have also attempted to escape the fighting. Execution has been the preferred method with which ISIS has dealt with desertion or absences from assigned posts. As the Inquisitr reported in October, nine former ISIS fighters were incinerated in burning oil, set on fire in trenches throughout the city to obscure the extremists' positions from the opposition's troops and aircraft, for fleeing against coalition forces entering the city.
CNN reported that urban fighting has slowed the coalition's advances since its forces have entered Mosul, with casualties mounting steadily for the Iraqi-led operation. Almost 2,000 Iraqi troops died (throughout Iraq) in the month of November, three times as many that died in October, which is when the assault on Mosul began.
But the intra-city fighting has taken a toll on the civilian population as well, prompting Baghdad to encourage residents of the city to stay in their homes in an effort to prevent civilian casualties. The government's policy was meant to avoid a potential humanitarian crisis by residents trying to flee the city in large numbers.
UN secretary-general's special representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, addressed the situation in a statement.
"In its desperate attempt to cling on to territory it controls in Mosul and Ninevah areas, Daesh [a derogatory alternative term for ISIS] has been employing the most vicious tactics, using civilian homes as firing positions as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields."A UN report released Thursday revealed that the month of November saw more than 900 civilians killed and another 930 wounded by terrorism, violence or armed conflict throughout Iraq.
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