So suppose you are the military commander (or the civilian in charge, FTM). How do you react to human shields such as these? Are they to be given more deference than ordinary enemy civilians? Less? The same?
What about involuntary human shields?
There are two aspects to the question, moral and political. My feeling is that from a moral perspective, these voluntary human shields should get less deference than ordinary civilians. Almost none, in fact. But as a practical matter, killing a bunch of Western civilians might not help the public rally around the war, which is something to be taken into account. OTOH, I don’t it would that much of an effect, and furthermore, a noticeable policy of favoring these people over others would open up charges of hypocrisy and double standards.
As for involuntary human shields, I would think the same standards that apply to ordinary civilians should apply. Which is (AFAIK) avoid harm as much as possible, but if necessary blast away.