(CNSNews.com) – The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) slaughtered about 700 Turkmen civilians last month, including "children, women, and old people," United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Iraq chief Marzio Babille told Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA).
The massacre of members of the country’s Shiite minority occurred in the northern Iraqi village of Beshir between July 11th and 12
The Turkmen ethnic group makes up roughly four percent of Iraq's population, according to the BBC. As members of the Shia Muslim sect, they are directly targeted by Islamic State Sunni extremists, who consider them apostates.
Navi Pillay, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, warned of the increasingly desperate plight of thousands of Turkmen who have been under seige for two months in the village of Amerli, which is located about 110 miles northwest of Baghdad.
In a statement released Monday the UN reported that “at least 13,000 members of the Shia Turkmen community in Amirli in Salah al-Din Governorate, among them 10,000 women and children, have been besieged by ISIL and associated armed groups since 15 June. Residents are enduring harsh living conditions with severe food and water shortages, and a complete absence of medical services – and there are fears of a possible imminent massacre.”
The high commissioner “echoed the urgent call by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq for the international community to work with the authorities to prevent a humanitarian and human rights tragedy.”
The Associated Press first reported that ISIS massacred Shiite Turkmen villagers during a midday attack on Beshir, Chardaghli, Brawchi and Karanaz in northern Iraq back in June.
“It is not yet clear how many people were killed in the attack on the four farming villages,” the Washington Post reported at the time. “Gen. Turhan Abdel-Rahman, Kirkuk’s deputy police chief, said he knew of at least 40 slain residents — 25 from three villages who were buried Sunday, plus the 15 interred Monday, who were from the fourth town, Bashir.'There are other bodies still inside Bashir,' he said.”
The high commissioner’s statement also describes a massacre of prisoners and detainees in Mosul’s Badoush Prison on June 10, which has been confirmed by The Human Rights Office of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.
“According to interviews with 20 survivors and 16 witnesses of the massacre, ISIL gunmen loaded between 1,000 and 1,500 prisoners onto trucks and transported them to a nearby uninhabited area,” the statement says.
“There, armed men asked the Sunnis to separate themselves from the others. Around 100 prisoners who joined the Sunni group were suspected by ISIL not to be Sunni and were subjected to individual checks based on how they prayed and their place of origin.
"Sunni inmates were ordered back on the trucks and left the scene. ISIL gunmen then yelled insults at the remaining prisoners, lined them up in four rows, ordered them to kneel and opened fire. Up to 670 prisoners were reportedly killed.”
“Such cold-blooded, systematic and intentional killings of civilians, after singling them out for their religious affiliation may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the UN high commissioner said.