Sunni Militants Kill Hundreds of Shiite Soldiers

President Obama made a statement assuring there are no plans to put boots on the ground in Iraq.
12:21 | 06/13/14

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Transcript for Sunni Militants Kill Hundreds of Shiite Soldiers
-- -- Mass executions. UN saint Sunni militants in Iraq that have taken over the northern half of the country. It started executing -- soldiers fight the international hot spot to -- Iraq. Where in New York to radical group known as the Islamic state of a rock and Syria or crisis. Now on the doorsteps of Baghdad and -- leaving a trail of blood to get there. -- that are Obama few moments ago -- while there will be no boots on the ground there there are possibilities of military involvement. The most likely will be manned or unmanned air strikes the BBC's that -- has more now i.'s actions and reactions from -- groups. Yeah. Images albeit on -- this time to -- and he's in Baghdad and alarming Washington. Militants it seems celebrate as they overrun an abandoned Iraqi Army base into creeks. It used to be US military headquarters in Northern Iraq. Millicent and bones may have been slowed but it's certainly not been reversed its scale and significance is forcing Washington. Consider launching -- and drone strikes -- like about two and a half years after its last combat troops departed. We're talking here about using community fight to ground attack aircraft close support a close air support aircraft was so full. It's doable is no doubt about it doable but it is a big step and my instinct is that and you know the US will be very reluctant to do this. And this it seems militants parading their control of the town of Mosul. Crisis in its Nvidia's has reinforced its reputation for brutality. Here the group says a man being led away for execution. The United Nations is now saying it's received verified reports of executions including of civilians in Mosul. The full extent of civilian casualties is not yet known. Com -- reports. Received by you know I mean -- UN mission in Iraq. To this point suggests the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds. And the number of wounded -- -- -- to be approaching bonfires. And all this in the potential risks to international stability of top the agenda of talks here in London between the foreign secretary and his American counterpart. -- -- -- of this Sunni insurgency across this wave of the north. Has revived fears of Iraq speaking -- half along sectarian and ethnic lines. An -- that it will. But the. Friday prayers at the top -- religious leadership. And religious leaders from the Sunni community have called for resistance to the nicest challenge and I haven't gotten. And in Karbala the heartland of the Shia community enthusiastic new recruits for the flight. This struggle inside Iraq with potential international shock waves may be far from over and Childs BBC news. We're joined now by ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran rubio rock for the latest situation -- Terry. A trail of blood along the tigris reports of these mass executions the UN saying it's -- hundred summer saints in the thousands. What can you tell us about the situation. Well -- is hard to overstate the new bishop is this the ruthlessness of this jihadist group. Ices or I still is is. Depending on the translation this is a group that -- acts about it man appears that films them and today they announced. There are thousands of prisoners that they -- the Iraqi Army just -- in front. They claim they have executed one doesn't set at 100. Iraqi soldiers that they'd taken prisoners and the UN as you heard estimated at hundreds who have been killed -- he talked. -- -- from Mosul people who fled. This city as this group took it over custody of two million people and they told us they saw bodies up and down the streams. Ice is though is actually getting a good deal of support -- from -- from the Sunni community right. It is really surprising it's one of the most surprising things in this astonishing that a government. Here in Iraq this is lightning can strike by these G -- right down. Towards Baghdad -- in Baghdad. This terror group or -- their videos include. -- of them literally participate. In. Cannibalism -- one of their commanders. Video of them driving down the street just shooting people that they think are from -- wrong step here. Instead the group that they -- there was this -- granite and our own. -- this puritanical. It lays at all other people can't smoke or drink alcohol Whitman can't come outside and punishment will be much real -- -- to be hands you. Stolen things death penalty if -- an apostate he think these people would would be rejected. Yet on to you -- videos people lining the streets of the cities they're taking. She curtain as those fighters come down the streets -- well. It goes back to the terrible division in this country between the religious sects. You -- once she kept -- majority here they run the government. On the other side that certainly they used over the government under Saddam Hussein. And they feel they have been crushed by this chief government. That there needs their liberties have been just absolutely dis respected -- trashed by the Shia government and so they kept them. Sixty this jihadist group. As better. The government they've got that's how bad thing -- got in Iraq. Terry you had eluded to this earlier on the difference between -- -- and I access they are the same group correct. They are -- -- that they describe themselves in. Our -- so we are translating into English. They are described as the Islamic State of Iraq. And the look bad that the very old fashioned name for basically Syria and Lebanon. Charm is what they're called in in the -- accident -- insists or I still acuity -- the -- is the same group. Saying tactics this is -- -- regulated so. Control almost like the -- holdings if you if you want -- -- they. There are so out of can also beyond the bounds. Of what we consider normal more morality even organization that -- al-Qaeda. Has disavowed this -- this was a group that sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda. And it went Rampage against Syria to such an extent killing other -- that they didn't like -- massacring civilians. Alienated as you can imagine the civilian population. That even. And also walked -- -- it is the successor to Osama bin Laden. Communicate. This group from al-Qaeda that have -- -- the sectarian divide which we spoke about yesterday. Now becoming even more parent. Because of a major -- launching a COLT ours. What does -- the response from the young men that are here. That should he. That are being attacked and killed by this Sunday jihadist group are -- Currently rallying to the cost. And the cleric that you described his -- this is done he is one of the most respected elder statesman in Iraq. Once upon a time that -- dream up look of a multi. Ethnic multi confessional Iraq the people could get along together and govern themselves. System was seen as a very important player. Because he is not. Why old -- he's a person of prayer really. He he did not take a very strong active role in politics he's revered by -- as their elder religious leader. And so when he comes he says something it generally gets a response to. Big deal -- he had said. To all the Shia men pick up arms and fight these Jihad it seems that that he -- -- is giving up on the idea of a unified Iraq. And that is really the feeling here Dan. Here's to feeling. Of people given. That -- given up on Iraq. -- -- -- on each other. They've given up on their government they've given up on their army. They aren't looking for order for safety for leadership and that take it wherever we can find. When you look at the map -- northern part of the country the city's there have been overtaken have a stronghold now. On -- is the question is though and that group hold and they govern that area. That is an excellent question -- -- were able to pick cities. Saying group in. Parts of Iraq back in 20072008. And they were so horrific league but he. Be -- harbors for example. Who had the temerity of the sinful and their eyes to -- people. Where they believe that nobody should -- That they alienate the local population that gave rise to that to the civic awakening it was called. That the United States -- -- partnered with to drive them out. -- also have committed atrocities in stereo so they appeared at the track record at the pot holes and and keep in the life. That's -- many reports out of Mosul that they've gone door to door they tried to reassure -- People who are certainly -- -- they're persecuting Christians yet another but trying to reassure people. That they will use the existing government -- doctors. There encouraging government workers to come back to -- they actually want to run -- -- -- -- -- no track record of doing it with any decency. But this time there trying to set up a state. Given the statement that the president came out with today saying that there is no commitment boots on the ground there what though in your opinion is the likelihood. Of western involvement. Against crisis. Western involvement will be limited it it will. It is believed that president -- or -- some air strikes that thing if that's a pretty good very desperate around Baghdad and it is getting there. -- there were reports. That Iraqi soldiers in the Green Zone came to war with civility and those under their uniform. Just in case that kick off uniforms runway that's not a very good sign. But aside from air strikes western involvement will be primarily intelligence. Perhaps -- major new military hardware some kind of a bomber or. Or fighter jets to Iraq. Beefing up some advising. Both perhaps but I think that -- is going to be a regional or -- first. Which eight of its dip -- in the hands of these. -- -- -- -- -- which is very concerned about the chaos brewing on its southern border has said they are considering. Some kind of military response. Already has apparently troops in this country from the Revolutionary Guards soon there will be a lot more boots on the ground. Or other countries that's another good. Probably the very difficult thing western involvement. It's probably going to be limited I think the United States and its -- -- everyone who watched what happened. Two western powers in -- its current country from 2003 to 2011. Want no part of it again. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran for us in Iraq Terry thank you for that appreciated as always. And you can't keep up with this store in real time by downloading ABC news that star in this -- works with updates on the go. You've been watching international hot spot on -- that there.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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