News / Middle East

    ISIL Staged ‘Mass Executions’ in Iraq, Rights Group Says

    An armed fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIL flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq, June 23, 2014.
    An armed fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIL flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq, June 23, 2014.
    Reuters

    Photograph and satellite imagery indicate that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgents have carried out mass executions in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch reported on Friday.

    ISIL, radical Islamists who want to re-create a medieval-style caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria, has stormed largely unopposed across much of northern Iraq, taking cities including Mosul and Tikrit, seizing border posts with Syria and advancing to within some 100 km (62 miles) of the capital Baghdad.

    New York-based Human Rights Watch said between 160 and 190 men were killed in at least two locations in and around Tikrit, the hometown of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, between June 11 and 14.

    The death toll could be much higher, the organization said, noting the difficulty of locating bodies and getting to the area had prevented a full investigation.

    Pictures posted on HRW's website showed a row of men lined up face-down in trenches being shot by gunmen.

    “The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation,'' Human Rights Watch emergencies director Peter Bouckaert said in a statement.

    The rebels “and other abusive forces should know that the eyes of Iraqis and the world are watching.''

    It was not immediately possible to get comment from ISIL.

    More than 1,000 killed in June

    The United Nations said on Tuesday that at least 1,000 people, mainly civilians, had been killed and roughly the same number injured in fighting and other violence in Iraq in June as ISIL swept through the north. Victims included a number of confirmed summary executions committed by ISIL as well as prisoners killed by retreating Iraqi forces.

    Human Rights Watch said ISIL posted about 60 photographs on its Twitter feed on June 14, showing fighters loading captives in civilian clothes onto trucks and then forcing them to lie in three shallow trenches.

    HRW counted the bodies visible in the available photographs, estimating that ISIL killed between 90 and 110 men in one trench and between 35 and 40 men in the second.

    Another photo shows a large trench with 35 to 40 prisoners shot, but Human Rights Watch said it had not been able to pinpoint the site.

    A U.N. human rights spokesman said on Tuesday that ISIL had broadcast dozens of videos showing cruel treatment, beheadings and shootings of captured soldiers, police officers and people apparently targeted because of their religion or ethnicity, including Shi'ites and minorities such as Christians.

    Northern units of Iraq's million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States, largely evaporated after Sunni Islamist fighters led by the ISIL launched their assault.

    In Tikrit on Friday, Iraqi army helicopters fired on a university campus in an effort to dislodge ISIL fighters, a day after launching an airborne assault on the city.  

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 28, 2014 2:01 AM
    Hello Mustafa, welcome to the world of blame USA! So if the USA didn't help these blood-thirsty MUSLIMS, then they would just be happy and live in peace? That's more comedy than I can handle!

    Do yourself and those who do believe in the sacred and holy Koran, never quote something that isn't true. The Koran does advocate to enlighten the 'unbelievers' by any means possible, even in death. Muhammed also made it clear that only those who believe in Islam, are the only humans in the world. If you are an unbeliever, then you are not considered human, therefore criminal inhumane acts cannot be applied to those who do not practice Islam. (You thought people didn't know this?) One story in VOA with the headline saying "Filipino Muslims pray for peaceful Ramadan for all", that means they are praying for other Muslims, regardless if Shia or Sunni, etc. A Muslim cannot EVER pray to Allah for the unbelievers, EVER! (Thought people didn't know this either, did you?) Christians do. Buddhists do. Not the Jewish, they feel the same exact way as the Muslims do. So whenever a Muslim refers to "people, all, everyone, anybody, he, she, they, them, you, etc" it only applies to other Muslims, never to be applied to the unbelievers!

    Muhammed was a political genius in this aspect, because when a Muslim says "I care about all people," we think he means 'all' in the since of Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Say you lose your job, and you ask your politician if he can do anything for you. The politician says, yes, I promise to do all I can for you. Even though the politician already knows that there is nothing he can do for you, he still didn't tell a lie. You can't be mad at the politician, after all, he did do all he could for you, which was nothing. But you were foolhearted to think that he meant that he will make things right for you. Enough. But we are no longer fooled by those Muslim statements anymore. Shame on you for stating the the Koran does not advocate violence. Again, it isn't violent in the Muslim's eyes if the act is against unbelievers or unclean Muslims (the way Sunni and Shias feel about each other), but for the rest of us that do care about people regardless of faith, it is violent and inhumane!!!!!

    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    June 27, 2014 12:36 PM
    If USA stop supply arms to terrorist, then this world will be for poor and helpless peoples. If USA & EU continue to support Terrorist group then this world for human killers only. All these groups came from Syria and Saudi Arabia. They are using the name of Islam for their evil aims. Islam never teaches us to kill poor and helpless peoples even if they did not believe God. This is between God and Non Believer how God will treat them at the time judgement. How these human killers got fatwa from Saudi Arabia to kill helpless peoples and rape girls, very shameful act to use Islam for their own hunger.

    by: ali baba from: new york
    June 27, 2014 10:39 AM
    When the picture of execution and mass murders done By Isis, What is the reaction in Arab world and Islamic world. I did not mass demonstration and burn the most honor flag to them is the flag of Osama bin laden group . I did not any demonstration when Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons . the picture in the internet is so barbaric . still the Arab world is totally silent. when Danish artist display cartoon which means nothing, we saw many people killed and angry voices all over the world
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    June 28, 2014 2:32 AM
    Ali Baba, (love the name), I have also been making the same argument over and over again. Met with a lot of hostility and 'childish' remarks. No, they were saying I am childish, hypocrite, ignorant, low IQ, idiot, uncultured, you name it.

    But still get no response when I ask the same question. Tired of hearing what governments are doing, and the world leaders for that fact, for they ARE the only reasons for all this unspeakable evil that is going on regardless of religion. Like me, you want to hear from the regular people like you and me. Where are their voices? These so-called caring and peaceful Muslims? Yeah, these people will burn the Aremican flag "death to America!" even if the American government sneezes in their direction.

    The problem that most don't understand is that non-Muslims cannot speak about what any Muslim does. Our words fall deaf on a Muslim's ears. Only a Muslim can speak out against another Muslim: The problem with that, if you are a Muslim, then you cannot speak out against another Muslim!

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 27, 2014 9:43 AM
    The (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appoints leaders and Judges (Qadis), who's qualifications are, they must be free, sane, adult, trustworthy, and a Muslim, in all the cities and towns that submit, or are conquered, (including surrendering Muslim troops), to administer instant Islamic justice on the infidels, and impure Muslims and others... and the decisions of the Sunni Muslim Judges (Qadis) is final, and irrevocable...

    The non-Believers and non-Muslims think the Sunni Muslim Judges (Qadis) decisions are acts of terror, and war crimes, and crimes against humanity.... but under Sunni Muslim law, the decisions by the Sunni Muslim Judges (Qadis) is completely legal.... (final and irrevocable)... no matter how harsh it is.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.