UN: ISIS Has 3.5K Slaves in Iraq, Slaughtered Thousands More

Report documents 'staggering' death toll, murder of child soldiers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2016 8:50 AM CST
UN: ISIS Has 3.5K Slaves in Iraq, Slaughtered Thousands More
A UNHCR representative addresses the media on the humanitarian situation in Iraq in Brussels on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

The United Nations released some disturbing numbers Tuesday related to ISIS activity in Iraq, noting that its actions may "amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide," CBS News reports. In the period from Jan. 1, 2014, to Oct. 31, 2015, more than 18,800 civilians were killed by the militant group, and nearly 36,250 were wounded. And the death toll, which the UN calls "staggering," was brought about via beheadings, shootings, burning victims alive, throwing them off buildings, and even bulldozing. But there are others suffering a different horrible fate: Per the report by the UN's Assistance Mission for Iraq and its human rights division, about 3,500 Iraqis are being held as slaves. "Those being held are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yezidi community, but a number are also from other ethnic and religious minority communities," the report reads.

The report notes that verified information suggests between 800 and 900 Iraqi children in Mosul alone had been snatched for religious indoctrination and to be incorporated into ISIS' military ranks, Business Insider reports. Some of those child soldiers were murdered when they tried to run from fighting in Anbar province, Fox News notes. Others in Iraq who haven't been targeted through outright violence have perished from hunger, thirst, or lack of medical care. "Even the obscene casualty figures fail to accurately reflect exactly how terribly civilians are suffering in Iraq," the UN's human rights chief said in a statement, per Business Insider. (An ISIS fatwa last year instructed members to "be kind" to their sex slaves.)

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