Mosul: ISIS is holding dozens of families to use as human shields

As the Iraqi Security Forces penetrate deeper into ISIS-held territories in the central-western parts of Mosul, the terrorist group resorts to the exploitation of civilian bodies as a result of their continued military losses.

The Iraqi Security Forces are preparing for the final stage of their battle to expel ISIS completely from Mosul. The armed forces are advancing towards the Old City, the main stronghold of ISIS in the city, principally from the east in an attempt to besiege the militants on all sides. ISIS militants are preventing civilians from escaping their grip and are forcing them to move towards the Old City.

Women and children are forced into houses as a ploy for the Iraqi forces to attack these positions by mistake. This has resulted in several civilian losses, although the army has been able to save more than 150 families in the past few days.

The tactic of using civilians as human shields has been incorporated into ISIS’ military strategy on several occasions in both Iraq and Syria. This tactic has normally been implemented on occasions when the terrorist group has been on the back foot and under intense military pressure.

ISIS has also been reluctant to allow civilians to escape into areas controlled by the Iraqi forces. The group has resorted to killing civilians to prevent them from reaching those areas.

The three areas of al-Shafaa, al-Zanjili and the Old City still largely remain under ISIS control. These are the final portions of ISIS-held territories within Mosul, which had been occupied by the group since 2014. The Iraqi Security Forces are preparing themselves to put an end to ISIS rule in the city.

The “We Are Coming, Nineveh” operation was launched by coalition forces in October 2016. The whole of eastern Mosul was liberated in February 2017 and the battle for the western parts of the city has raged on since then.

Image: Aljazeera