UN human rights staff have received reports of atrocities being committed by Islamic State militants as Iraqi government forces close in on Mosul.
In one case, three women and three children were allegedly shot dead after trailing behind while being forced to march from one village to another.
Elsewhere, 15 civilians were reportedly killed and their bodies thrown into a river in an attempt to spread terror.
The UN says this reinforces fears that IS will use civilians as human shields.
About 30,000 Iraqi security force personnel, Kurdish fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition air strikes, launched the long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul eight days ago.
The operation is expected to take weeks, if not months, depending on how much resistance they face from the 3,000 to 5,000 militants believed to be inside Mosul.
Speaking after a meeting with coalition counterparts in Paris, the US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the offensive was proceeding as planned.
He said the groundwork was being laid for the isolation of Islamic State in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate.
“As we meet here, we are hoping to generate the local forces that will do so,” he said, adding that the two campaigns might overlap.
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SOURCE: BBC News