ISIS captures up to 3,000 fleeing Iraqis, says UNHCR

ISIS captures up to 3,000 fleeing Iraqis, says UNHCR
5 years ago

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GENEVA – Islamic State (ISIS) militants may have captured up to 3,000 fleeing Iraqi villagers on Thursday (August 4), the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday (August 5).

"We have just received this morning reports that in fact [ISIS] captured, on the 4th of August, up to 3,000 IDPs (Internally Displaced People) from villages in Hawija District, in Kirkuk Governorate, who were trying to flee to Kirkuk city. That is all information I have, so, yes, we can confirm that," UNHCR's spokesman William Spindler told reporters during a news briefing in Geneva.

According to the agency's daily report on events in Iraq, 12 of these 3,000 people were reportedly executed by ISIS militants.

The report followed a statement on Thursday from the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, which said about 1,900 civilians had been captured by an estimated 100-120 ISIS militants, who were using people as shields against attacks by Iraqi Security Forces. Tens of civilians had been executed, and six burnt.

The United States is leading a military coalition conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, where the group seized broad swathes of territory in 2014. The fighting had displaced 3.4 million people in Iraq by July 2016.

ISIS’ grip on some towns has been broken, but it still controls its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.