Iraq Conflict Leaves Nearly 15,000 Civilians Dead over Last 16 Months

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - UN report estimates death toll is in addition to 30,000 wounded and multiple gross human rights abuses during fighting between Islamic State, Iraqi security forces and others

Iraq Conflict Leaves Nearly 15,000 Civilians Dead over Last 16 Months

The conflict in Iraq has killed nearly 15,000 people and wounded 30,000 during a 16-month period ending on April 30, according to a UN report released Monday which blamed Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Iraqi security forces and other elements for the terrible toll.

The UN mission in Iraq and the UN human rights office said in the report that violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses by ISIL group, which controls large swaths of Iraq's north and west, may in some cases amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide, Associated Press reported.

Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops. ISIL captured Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul and the majority of western Anbar province last year. It still holds large parts of the country though Iraqi forces have been making steady progress against the extremists in recent months with the help of a US-led air campaign and Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake Anbar province on Monday.

During the 16-month period, the report said more than 2.8 million people fled their homes and remain displaced in the country, including an estimated 1.3 million children.

The UN mission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not break down who was responsible for the casualties.

Though much of the report focuses on ISIL, the UN agencies said they had received continued reports of violations of human rights and humanitarian law perpetrated by Iraqi Security Forces and their associates including international military forces, militia groups and popular mobilization units.

These include allegations of unlawful killings of people believed or perceived to support or be associated with ISIL.

The report gives numerous examples of killings, attacks and abductions carried out by ISIL against those opposed to its ideology, captured Iraqi soldiers and police, government officials, lawyers, journalists, doctors and other professionals, and members of ethnic and religious communities including Christians and Yazidis. It cited a number of unverified reports that ISIL used, or attempted to use chlorine gas in attacks.

As many as 3,000 to 3,500 men, women and children remain captives of the ISIL group, predominantly Izadis but also members of other ethnic and religious communities, "where they are subjected to physical, sexual and other forms of violence and degrading treatment on a daily basis," the report said.

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