Islamic State militants have burned to death nine civilians, including children, for attempting to escape the group’s strongholds southwest of the province.
Alsumaria News quoted a security source saying the extremist group burned to death nine civilians from the IS-held town of Hawija over charges of “abandoning the land of the Caliphate’, a common charge poised against people fleeing the group’s areas of control.
“Daesh (IS) arrested the civilians at a road between al-Riyadh and Hamreen Mountains,” said the source. “They burned them before of other civilians on their way to al-Alam,” said the source, referring to a region in neighboring Salahuddin province.
Since Islamic State took over large parts of Iraq in 2014 to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate”, it held a handful of areas in southwestern Kirkuk, where civilians have been subjected to extreme religious governance, brutal tortures and executions. IS’s reign forced thousands of civilians to flee to central Kirkuk.
Islamic State militants have reportedly tortured and enslaved civilians at areas under their control in Iraq for violating their religious rules, and executed many for either acting as informants for security services or attempting to escape “the land of the Caliphate” as the common charge reads. Many of the brutal executions were filmed and posted on IS’s social media platforms.
There has not been yet an official campaign to liberate Kirkuk, but it is expected that the government will move to clear Islamic State pockets across Iraq after finishing with its campaign to expel the group from neighboring Mosul, the group’s largest bastion in Iraq.