08/26/2014, 00.00
IRAQ - SYRIA - UNITED STATES
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Damascus ready to collaborate with US and UN to stop Islamic State

The United Nations reports that after seizing Mosul militants killed hundreds of Shia inmates from Badoush prison. In addition, they carried out targeted killings, forced conversions, kidnappings, human trafficking, enslavement and sexual violence.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Islamic state (IS) militias killed at least 670 Shia inmates from Mosul prison after seizing the city of Mosul in June. Jihadist rebels also committed a number of crimes, abuses, human rights violations - including ethnic cleansing - of such magnitude as to be classified as "crimes against humanity," said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. According to her, the Islamic State and its allied fighters were committing "grave, horrific human rights violations" on a daily basis, and that the United Nations had the evidence of that.

Crimes committed by jihadists include targeted killings, forced conversions, kidnappings, human trafficking, enslavement and sexual violence. As they consolidated their control of northern and eastern Iraq, they also destroyed religious and cultural monuments and laid siege to whole communities.

"They are systematically targeting men, women and children based on their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation and are ruthlessly carrying out widespread ethnic and religious cleansing in the areas under their control," Pillay said.

After weeks of controversy and accusations of inaction, the United Nations has now taken a clear position in the Iraq crisis, releasing detailed allegations, facts and evidence that confirm massacres and violence committed by Islamists.

In the confusion of the taking of Mosul, on 10 June, more than half of the 3,000 inmates managed to escape from Badoush prison. The others, between 1,000 and 1,500, were divided into two groups, Sunnis and Shias.

After being questioned about their faith, Sunnis were released. Shias were initially told that they too would be released, but after a few hours, at least 679 prisoners were taken to a desert area and shot. Only a handful managed to survive pretending to be dead and were able to tell about this latest Islamist barbarity. 

Given the situation, the United Nations could send a "peacekeeping force" in Iraq, with the task of creating a "security zone" around the Nineveh Plains and containing the jihadist advance.

Meanwhile, as the United Nations tries to mobilise world diplomacy, the Syrian government said it was ready to cooperate with the international community against the "terrorist" threat of an Islamic state.

The existing self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate in fact includes parts of the territory of Iraq but also of Syria, a country battered by three years of civil war where jihadist militias carried out their first military actions.

For the first time, Damascus said it was willing to cooperate with the international community, including the United States, to solve the problem.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem stated however that any attack on Syrian territory had to be coordinated with Syrian authorities in Damascus.

Recently, following the killing of journalist James Foley, Washington launched air strikes against militants in Iraq, but not in neighbouring Syria, where the White House has been backing rebel groups for quite a while - including the Islamic State - in order to overthrow Assad.

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