Weed out human rights abusing militias: HRW

Baghdad—Iraqi military commanders should prevent and weed out militias with records of serious abuses from taking part in a planned offensive on the ISIS-held city of Mosul, campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Sunday.
The battle for Mosul, the ultra-hardline militants’ de facto capital in Iraq and the largest city anywhere in their self-proclaimed caliphate, is expected later this year but plans have not been finalized, officials and diplomats in Baghdad say.
Army, police and counter-terrorism forces are expected to participate, backed by air support from a US-led coalition.
The role of Kurdish peshmerga forces and Shiite Muslim militias from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is unresolved and remains a point of contention. They will likely join in the larger battle but may be restricted to the city’s outskirts, the officials say.
“Iraqi commanders shouldn’t risk exposing Mosul civilians to serious harm by militias with a record of recent abuse,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, echoing the positions of many Western diplomats and aid workers who are mobilizing humanitarian aid for the population.—Agencies

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