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Mass executions of up to 1,500 at a time, girls abducted as sex slaves and children used as soldiers

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  • Jihadist barbarism ‘may amount to war crimes that should be prosecuted’
  • UN chief: ‘Array of violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIS is staggering’
  • 1,500 Iraqi soldiers and security forces were killed in a single massacre
  • Female doctors and lawyers murdered as militants target women
  • But report says Iraqi air strikes have also caused ‘significant civilian deaths’
  • Comes as Turkey prepares to vote on whether to launch attacks on ISIS

Islamic State militants have carried out mass executions, abducted girls as sex slaves and used child soldiers in what may amount to systematic war crimes in Iraq that demand prosecution, the UN said today.

It said ISIS fighters had committed gross human rights violations of an ‘increasing sectarian nature’ against groups including Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ite Muslims in a widening conflict that has forced 1.8 million Iraqis to flee their homes.

However, it also said Iraqi government air strikes on the Muslim militants had caused ‘significant civilian deaths’ by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said: ‘The array of violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups is staggering, and many of their acts may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.’

It came as Turkey’s parliament was debating a motion to give the government new powers to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State.

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