The conflict in Iraq killed nearly 15,000 people and wounded 30,000 others during 16 months ending April 30, according to a U.N. report released Monday that blamed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Iraqi security forces and other elements for the terrible toll.
The U.N. mission in Iraq and the U.N. human rights office said in the report that violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses by ISIL, which controls swaths of Iraq's north and west, may in some cases amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.
Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops. ISIL captured Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, and the majority of western Anbar province last year. It still holds large parts of the country, though Iraqi forces have been making steady progress against the group in recent months with the help of a U.S.-led air campaign, and Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake Anbar province on Monday.
During the 16 months reviewed for the report, more than 2.8 million people fled their homes and remain displaced in the country, including an estimated 1.3 million children.
The U.N. mission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not break down who was responsible for the casualties.
Though much of the report focused on ISIL, the U.N. agencies said they received continued reports of human rights violations perpetrated by Iraqi security forces and their associates — international military forces, militia groups and popular mobilization units — including allegations of unlawful killings of people believed to support or be associated with ISIL, particularly Sunni Arabs, and several examples of reported civilian killings in airstrikes.
The report gives numerous examples of killings, attacks and abductions carried out by ISIL against those opposed to its ideology, captured Iraqi soldiers and police, government officials, lawyers, journalists, doctors and other professionals and members of ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis. It cited a number of unverified reports that ISIL used or attempted to use chlorine gas in attacks.
As many as 3,500 men, women and children remain captives of ISIL, predominantly Yazidis but also members of other ethnic and religious communities, "where they are subjected to physical, sexual and other forms of violence and degrading treatment on a daily basis," the report said.
The Associated Press