Fighters for the Islamic State reportedly killed more than 160 civilians in a single day last week as they attempted to flee Western Mosul, according to a report released by the United Nations.

Last Tuesday, as Iraqi Security Forces backed by the United States and its allies continued their effort to destroy ISIS in its last ten or so square kilometers of territory within the historic city, ISIS fighters resorted to killing civilians in order to ensure enough of them remained to serve as a form of human shields intended to dissuade coalition forces from using air strikes to support the ISF’s advance.  By maintaining high populations of civilians in the regions with the most brutal fighting, ISIS all but guarantees civilian casualties any time air support is used in the fighting.

“The brutality of Daesh [ISIL] and other terrorist groups seemingly knows no bounds,” said Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s human rights chief.

“Yesterday, my staff reported to me that bodies of murdered Iraqi men, women and children still lay on the streets of the al-Shira neighbourhood of western Mosul, after at least 163 people were shot and killed by Daesh to prevent them from fleeing.”