A multi-ethnic humanitarian group says the Daesh extremist group has killed dozens of civilians in the past two days while they were fleeing the embattled city of Mosul.
Dave Eubank, from the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), told Reuters on Saturday that the bodies of the victims who were escaping from west Mosul’s Zanjili neighborhood lay on the ground near the frontline with Iraqi forces.
"Over the past two days ISIS (Daesh) has been shooting people escaping this area," he said, adding, "I saw over 50 dead bodies yesterday … and we rescued one little girl and one man. But there are still more."
Meanwhile, a young man said he was among a group of civilians wounded in an airstrike that targeted a Daesh element hiding in the crowd.
"We were a group of 200-250 civilians, a Daesh came in among us and the aviator hit us… but he (the militant) escaped," he said.
In a relevant development early on Saturday, Iraqi federal police forces seized a huge cache of deadly weapons, including hundreds of explosive shells, which were left by Daesh terrorists in recently-liberated parts of Zanjili.
The explosives were transported to a large crater before detonation.
Separately, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a high-ranking commander of Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), told the al-Sumaria TV network early on Sunday that Daesh militants holed up in Mosul should either surrender or will be killed badly.
Iraqi forces “stand on the outer fence of the Old City [of Mosul], our accounts will be settled with these bastards,” Assadi said.
“If Mosul was free of civilians, the liberation of the right and left coasts would have been completed by less than a month, but we have sought to preserve the citizens, which delayed the process,” he added.
Earlier this week, Iraqi forces managed to wrest control over west Mosul’s al-Saha al-Oula district.
About 700,000 people have already fled Mosul, but up to 200,000 civilians are still trapped in harrowing conditions in the city’s Daesh-controlled areas, most of them in the Old City.
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq.
Since October 2016, the Iraqi army soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have been leading a major operation to recapture the city.
They took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west in February.
The full liberation of the city would likely spell the end for the Iraqi half of Daesh's so-called caliphate.
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