Disturbing images showing young men and even children being tortured by the Iraqi army and Shia-allied militias have emerged, raising concern about the safety of residents fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul.
As the forces backed by an international coalition battle to take over the last stronghold of Daesh, civilians trying to escape have been caught up in the fight.
“After escaping the horrors of war and tyranny of [Daesh], Sunni Arabs in Iraq are facing brutal revenge attacks at the hands of militias and government forces, and are being punished for crimes committed by the group,” Philip Luther of Amnesty International said in a recent report.
In the videos and pictures circulating across social media, soldiers can be seen hitting boys with a hammer and guns.
One video shows a child named Ihab Muhamad screaming with pain as ISF soldiers beat him to tell if his family members belong to Daesh, according to Middle East Monitor.
TRT World has not been able to verify the authenticity of the footage.
But analysts have been warning for days that civilians escaping the clutches of Daesh can become victim of sectarian reprisals.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted on multiple occasions that Sunni and Arab forces should be allowed to remain in the city to avoid disturbing the demography.
The Iraqi army and southern Shia militias have unleashed similar brutality in May and June of this year during the operation to retake Fallujah, according to the report.
“In one shocking incident at least 12 men and four boys from the Jumaila tribe who fled al-Sijir, north of Fallujah, were extra judicially executed after they handed themselves in to men wearing military and federal police uniforms,” it said.
The Iraqi government of Haider al-Abadi had earlier promised that only trained Iraqi troops will enter the city of Mosul, where around 1 million civilians are trapped.
Survivors of past incidents share harrowing details of abuse on hands of militias.
"There was blood on the walls… They hit me and the others with anything they could lay their hands on, metal rods, shovels, pipes, cables. They walked on top of us with their boots," one survivor told Amnesty International.
Such incidents could plunge Iraq into a new wave of sectarian conflict that has already killed tens of thousands of people.
“As the battle to retake Mosul gets underway, it is crucial that the Iraqi authorities take steps to ensure these appalling abuses do not happen again,” said Luther.