Baghdad – Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Sunday urged the Iraqi Army leadership to prevent militias with a significant record of human rights abuses from participating in the planned liberation of Mosul from ISIS.
Iraqi officials expect Mosul operation to start later this year, yet the final plan has not been finalized.
Iraqi Army, Police, and Counter-Terrorism will participate in the operation; air backed by U.S.-led coalition.
The role of Peshmerga and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) has not been determined yet given that it is a still not agreed upon.
Officials, including the Iraqi PM Haidar al-Abadi, believe that the role of Peshmerga and PMF should be limited to the borders.
Reuters reported Deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch Joe Stork saying: “Iraqi commanders shouldn’t risk exposing Mosul civilians to serious harm by militias with a record of recent abuse.”
Leaders of militias say that security forces are not prepared yet to retake Mosul alone in gruesome street wars.
Militias rejected the claims of al-Anbar governor saying they executed 49 Sunni men and arrested over 600 others. Authorities opened an investigation in the matter and arrested several arrests were made.
Minister of Defense Khalid al-Obeidi said that ISIS leaders are selling their belongings and escaping the city. He announced during an interview with al-Iraqiya state television that many of the families and leaders of ISIS had sold their belongings and retreated to Syria.
“A number of families… and leaders of ISIS in Mosul, they and their families sold their belongings and withdrew towards Syria,” he said.
Some also sought to infiltrate towards Kurdish region, located north and east of Mosul.
Iraqi PM held talks with Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford in Baghdad and the two discussed plans to retake Mosul.
A statement issued stressed on the “cooperation between the two countries in the fields of training and arming, ongoing international coalition support for Iraq… and plans to liberate Mosul.”
Dunford confirmed his country’s support for Iraqi government to fight ISIS.
Meanwhile, Red Cross warned that up to a million Iraqis could be displaced in the coming months by fighting against IS, including the operation to recapture Mosul.