Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

International Rights Body Accuses PMF of Detaining Mosul Escapees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) personnel fire artillery during clashes with ISIS militants south of Mosul October 29, 2016. REUTERS

Baghdad- Human Rights Watch has accused Iraqi paramilitary militias, the Popular Mobilization Forces, of detaining men fleeing from Mosul. The rights body said that PMF units screen those escaping the conflict for membership of the terror group ISIS.

PMF militants, who lack in official training, have been abducting men fleeing the Mosul fighting and keeping them in unidentified detention centers for interrogation where, according to HRW, they are at “heightened risk of abuse, including arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance.”

“In case after case, relatives are telling us that their male family members are being stopped by PMF fighters and disappearing,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“While we cannot know exactly what has happened to the men detained, the lack of transparency, particularly for their families as to their whereabouts, is cause for real concern.”

On the other hand, the second phase of the Mosul offensive has been accomplished successfully. The entire east side is now free from ISIS-hold, a spokesman for the joint special operations command, Brig.Gen. Yahya Rasoul, said.

Preparations for the third phase of the offensive, concerned with liberating the western side, are underway and effective in both military logistics and intelligence, Rasoul told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“We, for the first time, will use smart weapons (laser-guided weapons),” added Rasoul.

Witnesses in Mosul described the humanitarian situation in the east as degenerating, and that dozens of families in the eastern side have fled to remote areas, as a result of the random bombardment carried out by ISIS. The terror group has been attacking the eastern side, launching projectiles from their locations nestled in the western banks of the Tigris River.

Manhal Klak, an eastern Mosul resident, reported that terror group ISIS is targeting people with mortars and drones, prompting many to flee to distant regions.

Klak, who did not flee Mosul since ISIS’ takeover in September 2014, and was held hostage for three weeks by the group, says that Mosul’s conditions are complex and catastrophic.

The wave of severe cold has exacerbated matters, and as oil spiked to unbelievable prices, poor people resorted to cutting most trees in the gardens for warmth.