Baghdad:Considering their stonghold over Mosul threatened as the Iraqi army advances, the Islamic State (IS) fighters have started employing boys as young as 12 to the frontlines with suicide belts, media reports said.
Witnesses in Raqqa and Mosul – as well as the UN’s high commissioner for refugees – said Isis had also displaced tens of thousands of residents for use as human shields as it came under increasing military pressure, the Guardian reported.
Of the nearly 48,000 refugees that have fled Mosul, many have described how the Islamist occupiers are becoming more brutal.
Several residents have said that in the past week, many had been killed by Isis for reasons as trivial as carrying a mobile phone sim card.
According to the UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Isis has killed nearly 60 alleged spies and battlefield deserters in Mosul in the last two days.
On Monday, an underground prison was found in the Shura district, containing 961 emaciated men and boys who had been forced into tiny cages and had been tortured.
Mosul fell to the jihadis in June 2014 and their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chose a mosque in the city as a place to proclaim the establishment of a “caliphate”.
On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city.
Since then, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city to drive out the IS terrorists.