The Daesh militant group has been preventing civilians from leaving the flashpoint city of Fallujah in the western Anbar province for more than three months, Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Daesh has been using civilians as human shields in Fallujah for more than three months, preventing them from leaving the city and confiscating the property of anyone who disobeys,” commission member Fadel al-Gharawi said in the statement. “Daesh has planted improvised explosive devices in all [of the city’s] mosques and residential buildings and along the roads that lead to Fallujah.”
Eid Amash, a spokesman for Anbar’s provincial council, said Daesh militants had recently opened fire on local families who had attempted to flee the city at night.
Late Monday, the Shia Al-Hashd al-Shaabi militia – which is allied with the Iraqi army – said it had secured a road from Fallujah allowing some 1,000 families to leave the city for areas controlled by the Iraqi army.
An Iraqi military source said Monday that government forces had seized three vital areas from Daesh near the city of Ramadi, provincial capital of the Anbar province.
On the same day, Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced the launch of military operations aimed at flushing Daesh militants from Anbar.
The move comes two months after the army – along with the Shia militia – sent reinforcements to the flashpoint province.
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