As the battle to regain Mosul intensifies, a captured Islamic State (IS) militant has said his commanders gave permission for the men to rape as many Yazidi women as they wanted.

Speaking to Reuters, Amar Hussein, 21, said he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities. He also claims to have killed about 500 people since he joined IS in 2013. “It became easier day by day,” once he’d been trained to kill, he said.

Kurdish security officials say they have evidence of Hussein raping and killing but they don’t know the scale. He was captured during the battle of Kirkuk in October 2016.

Hussein sees himself as a victim of hardship, a product of a broken home and poverty in his hometown of Mosul. “I had no money. No one to say ‘This is wrong, this is right.’ No jobs. I had friends but no one to give me advice,” he said.