Iraq has announced a number of arrests have been made against members of Shi’ite militias involved in the ongoing military offensive against the ISIS-held city of Fallujah, related to the torture and mass execution of civilians fleeing the city.
Details are still emerging, but Anbar Governor Sohaib al-Rawi says that 643 Fallujans “went missing” after fleeing the city earlier this month, taken by militiamen to their compound on an Iraqi military base. All survivors showed signs of “severe torture,” and dozens were executed outright.
The kidnappings, torture, and executions are somewhat undercut by commanders of the offensive claiming “more than 500” of the people who’ve fled Fallujah, which is a large percentage of them, were actually ISIS with “fake IDs.”
The Iraqi military has depended heavily on the Shi’ite militias in offensives like Fallujah, and clearly isn’t keen on them being reined in too much over a little thing like mass execution of Sunni civilians. The Iraqi government, indeed, has looked the other way when similar stories happened after other offensives.
Such reported have fueled growing international concern, along with massive unrest among Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, many of whom as now siding with ISIS in places like Fallujah, seeing them as the safer choice than the government’s “liberation.”