Formerly members of Iraq’s security forces, some 295 people who have since been living as non-combatants in the city of Tal Afar, west of the city of Mosul, have been captured by ISIS in a new purge. The fate of those captured is unclear, according to the UN.
While ISIS had long appeared contented to leave former local security forces alone to live in their territory, as long as they don’t cause trouble, the group has been targeting such people intensely in the area around Mosul since the offensive began, with the expectation that they might join the invading forces.
In previous, smaller instances, ISIS have reportedly executed the former security forces, but this is a much larger number than previous instances, and it is unclear what ISIS will ultimately do with this group.
The impetus for rounding up people in Tal Afar is likely the announced offensive against the town by Shi’ite militias, who say they intend to capture the city to ensure that ISIS cannot flee into Syria from Mosul. ISIS efforts to prevent people joining the invading forces and the Iraqi government’s admonishment not to flee the area have effectively trapped the population of metro Mosul, and while this has meant fewer civilians fleeing into displaced camps so far, it has also left a lot more of them exposed to potential violence.
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