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Daesh kidnaps 295 ex-Iraqi security forces near Mosul: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A member of Iraqi security forces gestures in Hammam al-Alil, south of Mosul, Iraq, November 7, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Daesh has abducted 295 former members of Iraqi Security Forces near the city of Mosul, the United Nations says as the Takfiri terrorist group is suffering considerable setbacks on the ground due to advances by the Iraqi troops.

Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), released the figure at a UN briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday.

About 100 of the ex-officers were kidnapped from the village of Mawaly in western Mosul on November 3, and 195 more were taken from villages in the district of Tal Afar on November1-4, Shamdasani said.

She further said Daesh had forced 1,500 families to retreat with them from the southern Mosul town of Hammam al-Alil that was recently liberated by the Iraqi forces.

"People forcibly moved or abducted, it appears, are either intended to be used as human shields or - depending on their perceived affiliations - killed," the official noted, adding, "The fate of these civilians is unknown for the moment.”

Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, the year the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in northern and western Iraq.

On October 17, the Iraqi army, volunteer Shia and Sunni fighters as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched a long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul.

The operation has entered its fourth week and Iraqi forces have so far made major gains against the extremists.

Elsewhere in her comments, Shamdasani said that the UN had information that at least 30 sheikhs were kidnapped in Sinjar in early November and the world body was trying to verify whether 18 of the hostages were killed in Tal Afar.

Residents of Mosul have repeatedly warned that Daesh is forcibly gathering civilians for possible use as human shields against the Iraqi forces.

Late on Monday, Iraqi government forces unearthed a mass grave containing the skeletal remains of some 100 decapitated bodies near the agricultural college of Hammam al-Alil.

Shamdasani said that the discovery happened to be in the same college where the UN reported the execution of 50 police officers last month. 

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