Local officials confirmed the militia had captured around 600 peopleduring fighting in the nearby town of Saqlawiya, along with dozens more who had been separated from their families as they fled the area.
A member of Anbar’s provincial council, Sheikh Raja al-Issawi, said the men had been taken to the al-Mazraa army base on Sunday night, where they appeared to have been severely tortured by Shia militias involved in the battle to retake Fallujah.
Speaking from a nearby hospital, one nurse said his facility had received dozens of severely wounded men, as well as four “broken” corpses.
Those civilians who have managed to escape have run a gauntlet of gunfire from Isil militants desperate to keep as many “human shields” inside the city as possible. The nurse said that many of the men he had treated had approached the Shia militia in the belief they could offer safety.
Photographs obtained by The Telegraph on Monday appeared to show at least seven different people recovering from their detentions. All are bandaged and bloodied, with several bodies covered in deep welts and bruises. In at least one case, the surface of a man’s flesh appeared to have been removed.
“The men arriving at our hospital say they watched field executions and that militiamen mocked their suffering and used filthy sectarian slurs,” said the nurse, adding that bodies of the alleged victims had not been found.
Shia militias have been accused of committing serious abuses against Sunni civilians while helping the Iraqi government regain territory it lost to Isil in 2014.
Although the militias deny the accusations, the central government has said they will be held back from the final assault on Fallujah, a predominantly Sunni city, amid fears of sectarian reprisals.
Aws al-Khafaji, the head of the Abu Fadhil al-Abbas militia, fanned those flames last week by describing Fallujah’s mostly-Sunni residents as a “cancer’.
Throughout its two-year rule across Iraq and Syria, Isil has presented itself as a defender of Sunni communities against sectarian governments and militias.