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Islamic State fighters have killed more than 250 people and kidnapped nearly 8,000 families around Mosul in recent days as Iraqi troops advanced on the northern city, the United Nations said Friday. UN rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva that the jihadists are forcing civilians living in districts around Mosul into the city, hoping to use them as human shields in an upcoming battle. The IS jihadists slaughtered 24 ex-ISF officers on Tuesday and another 190 on Wednesday, according to rights office reports.
By Ellen Francis and Angus McDowall BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels including jihadists began a counter-attack against the army and its allies on Friday aiming to break a weeks-long siege on eastern Aleppo, insurgents said. The assault, employing heavy shelling and suicide car bombs, was mainly focused on the city's western edge by rebels based outside Aleppo. It included Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, a former affiliate of al Qaeda previously known as the Nusra Front, and groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner.