While UN officials claim they’re carefully monitoring the treatment of those displaced from Mosul and haven’t documented any abuses, the troops occupying checkpoints through which the civilians have to flee are telling a different story, involving mass detentions and summary execution.
The Associated Press quoted one of those manning a checkpoint, named Dhia Amir, as having bragged of not only “arresting” over 100 people, handing them over to police forces, but of having personally shot and killed two men who he claims to have “known” were fleeing ISIS fighters.
This has been a recurring problem in Iraq’s wars against ISIS, as Shi’ite dominated security forces and allied militias are immediately distrustful of Sunni Arabs fleeing the ISIS cities, and don’t need much pretext for a detention, or to disappear people outright.
“A 13-year-old boy can still kill,” Amir noted, defending the crackdown on fleeing civilians. “And even if he doesn’t kill me, one day he could kill my son.” That, ultimately, has been the basis on which much of the war has been fought, and the main reason why sectarian tensions are only growing.