Iraqi forces assault 2 villages south of Mosul

Comprehensive military campaign to liberate the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul continued on Monday with Iraqi Special Forces battling to clear ISIL from Eastern Mosul and declaring that they have so far killed almost 1,000 militants.

Last month, the Iraqi army - backed by US -led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground - launched a wide-ranging offensive to retake Mosul, which was overrun by the terrorist group in mid-2014.

There are now some 6,000 United States troops in the country, including 100 special operations forces embedded with Iraqi troops for the Mosul operation, according to the Pentagon.

Heavily armored and often packed with enough explosives to disable tanks, vehicle bombs have always been the deadliest weapon the militants use against Iraqi forces.

However, the campaign has been slowed down because of the presence of civilians inside the city, preventing both the Iraqis and the US -led coalition from using overwhelming firepower.

"Those who refuse to allow their houses to be used in this way are threatened or killed".

"These families are effectively used as human shields, placed squarely in harm's way, caught between ISIL and Iraqi security force fire responding to rocket and sniper attacks", it added, using one of several acronyms for IS.

"[IS] has been installing rocket launchers and placing snipers on the rooftops of civilian houses", she said.

Ms Shamdasani said IS was also continuing to abduct and forcibly move civilians, and to kill those it suspected of leaking information to the government. In past operations, USA -led coalition airstrikes were often called in to take out the bombs, but in the cramped fighting conditions in Mosul's residential neighborhoods, the explosive-laden vehicles often appear with little warning and the presence of civilians thwarts the use of airstrikes.

Reports suggest that on November 25, IS militants publicly shot to death 27 civilians in Muhandiseen Park in northern Mosul.

"Tanks don't work here, artillery is not effective", a commander said.

HRW called for an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation into the incident to establish who was responsible and whether it was lawful.

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