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Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:03 am

Daring nighttime raid turns to deadly trap in Mosul

Hours after Mosul’s municipal complex was declared liberated by the country’s top military commanders and U.S.-led coalition officials, the wounded began pouring into a small frontline clinic just a few hundred yards away.

“Daesh had everything planned,” said Hamza Daoud of the Federal Police who helped rush his injured comrades out of a battered Humvee and onto stretchers in the garden of an abandoned building.

“As we first advanced there was no resistance (from the Islamic State group), but once we entered, they woke up,” Daoud said, explaining he was only able to get out by ramming through a makeshift roadblock.

“We were stuck there, nothing could reach us. I barely escaped. The snipers hit my car twice but I never touched the brakes once,” he said.

Iraqi forces launched a daring nighttime raid in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the sprawling complex of municipal buildings in western Mosul along the Tigris River. Beginning just after midnight, Iraq’s emergency response division, an elite arm of the Federal Police, led the attack. Initially advancing some half a dozen blocks past the front line in armored vehicles, but breaching the complex itself on foot.

After facing very little resistance, regular Federal Police units followed and by 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning an Iraqi flag had been hoisted above the tallest government building.

From the roof of an abandoned school acting as a forward base on the edge of Mosul’s Tayran neighborhood, Maj. Gen. Ali Alami said the Nineveh governorate complex burning on the horizon behind him was liberated and fully cleared.

He traced his troops’ advances on a tablet showing a satellite map of Mosul – boasting of their quick progress – but the markers showed that the soldiers has just pushed up the two main roads leading to the complex and hadn’t cleared the dozens of tightly packed homes on either side.

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah, who commands army operations in Nineveh province, praised the Federal Police as heroes and Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the U.S.-led anti-IS coalition hailed the advance in a statement posted to Twitter.

But by 11:00 a.m. clashes inside the compound had intensified and commanders behind the front were getting frantic radio calls for help. Three bulldozers had broken down trying to remove roadblocks, hundreds of troops were trapped and they needed reinforcements.

Sgt. Azam Ibrahim of the Federal Police was one of the first to enter the complex, but he and most of his unit fled as the first wave of counterattacks intensified. In the confusion he dropped his side arm before speeding back to his base.

“All of a sudden (IS fighters) began popping up everywhere,” he said, “they emerged from nowhere.”

Snipers began to fire down on Iraqi forces from the buildings above and previously concealed suicide car bombs rammed their convoys. Ibrahim said he was trapped in the complex for hours as IS fighters moved out from un-cleared neighborhoods and cut the routes his forces used to enter.

Commanders said the hasty advances were intended to give them the element of surprise, but the blunder shows how Iraqi forces continue to struggle with conducting methodical urban operations under political and military pressure for a speedy wrap up to the Mosul war.

The fight for Mosul’s west is expected to be the most difficult yet for Iraq’s military. The operation to retake the city was launched in October and in January the eastern side was declared fully liberated.

Initial advances in Mosul’s western neighborhoods have been slow as Iraqi forces attempt to conduct simultaneous operations that force ISIS to spread out their defenses.

As ISIS counterattacks on the municipality ballooned, Iraqi forces responded with artillery Tuesday. A pair of helicopters fired down onto the complex and airstrikes could be heard throughout the day. The sky above the municipality filled with thick black smoke.

Civilians trickled out of the area carrying their possessions in overstuffed suitcases.

“The situation is not good honestly, there is so much destruction,” Iman Issam said as she fled with her teenage daughter.

By afternoon, Federal Police units were being sent from the Tayran base to try and free the hundreds of troops in and around the municipality buildings and the front line clinic was receiving casualties in waves.

As one Humvee arrived, two men were pulled from the backseats, their uniforms soaked through with blood. Both were suffering from gunshot wounds. One man had been shot in the leg, the other shot twice in his side causing major bleeding.

The man shot in the side had been hit while trying to drag an injured friend to safety. Medics bandaged his wounds and hooked him up to an intravenous drip, but within minutes he died. Four doctors lifted him into a dark blue body bag and moved him to the ground. A fellow solider piled the man’s uniform and boots beside his body.

Speaking from just outside the municipality complex, Federal Police Brig. Gen. Fakher Al Bahadri said he ordered his forces to quickly push deep into Mosul and take the municipality buildings in order to “surprise” the enemy and overcome obstacles posed by western Mosul’s terrain. The city’s west is much more densely populated than the east and streets are narrow, preventing Iraqi forces from largely fighting from inside their armored vehicles.

“The plan was stupid,” Daoud, the Federal Police solider who brought two casualties to the clinic Tuesday afternoon, said. “I don’t know why we did that.”

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/comp ... orces.html
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:09 am

Iraqi forces fight IS in Mosul as bomb blasts hit Tikrit wedding

Iraqi forces battled Islamic State militants in their stronghold of Mosul on Wednesday and took control of the last major road leading west from the city, before bomb blasts ripped through a wedding party near Tikrit, killing more than 20 people.

The blasts in the village of Hajjaj, reported by local officials and medics as suicide attacks, were not immediately claimed, although Islamic State has carried out similar actions as it comes under pressure in Mosul.

A police source said two blasts hit the wedding and two more targeted security forces at the scene shortly afterwards. There were ongoing clashes between security forces and militants in the area, he said.

Inside Mosul, troops battled the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim fighters, who hid among the remaining civilian population and deployed snipers and suicide car bombs to defend their last major Iraq stronghold.

The U.S.-backed campaign to crush the militants saw Iraqi forces recapture the eastern side of the city in January. They launched their assault on the western half last month.

The retreat of Islamic State's self-styled caliphate, which leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from a mosque in Mosul's old city in 2014, has been accompanied by bomb attacks in areas outside the group's control, including Baghdad and cities in neighboring Syria.

The caliphate has spanned large areas in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Losing Mosul would deal a fatal blow to Islamic State's hold over territory in Iraq.

Fighting is expected to get tougher as Iraqi troops push further into the more densely populated areas in the western half of the city, including the old city.

Militants used car bombs in their counter-attack on Tuesday night around the Nineveh governorate building, Major General Ali Kadhem al-Lami of the Federal Police's Fifth Division told a Reuters correspondent near the site. "Today we're clearing the area which was liberated," he said.

Military officials had said that Rapid Response troops, an elite interior ministry division, recaptured the provincial government headquarters on Tuesday. They also took the central bank branch and a museum where militants had filmed themselves destroying priceless statues in 2015.

"The museum is completely empty of all artifacts. They were stolen, possibly smuggled," Lami said. Reuters could not get access to the museum to verify his comments.

Lami said most of the fighters that had fought around the governorate building were local, but some were foreigners.

"An order was issued for foreign fighters with families to withdraw with them. Those who do not have a family should stay and fight, whether foreign or local," he said.

The few families remaining in the nearby Dawasa district said the militants had set some of their homes on fire as security forces advanced and that the militants had fought among themselves.

LAST ROAD FROM MOSUL

On Wednesday, the Iraqi military said the army and Shi'ite paramilitary forces had taken full control of the last major road leading west out of Mosul towards the town of Tal Afar, state TV reported.

The 9th Armoured Division and two Shi'ite fighting groups had "isolated the right bank (western side of Mosul) from Tal Afar", it said.

The road links Mosul to Tal Afar, another Islamic State stronghold 60 km (40 miles) to the west, and then to the Syrian border.

Shi'ite militias taking part in the Mosul campaign began to close in on Tal Afar late last year, after the offensive was launched. They linked up then with Kurdish fighters to encircle the jihadists.

A 100,000-strong force of Iraqi military units, Shi'ite forces and Kurdish fighters, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, has fought since October in the Mosul campaign.

The jihadist group has lost most of the cities it captured in northern and western Iraq in 2014 and 2015. In Syria, it still holds Raqqa city as its stronghold, as well as most of Deir al-Zor province.

But it is losing ground to an array of separate enemies, including U.S.-backed forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army. It has carried out bombings in Iraqi and Syrian cities as its caliphate has shrunk.

The bombings in Hajjaj village, north of Tikrit, late on Wednesday were not immediately claimed, but are similar to attacks carried out in recent months by Islamic State.

In November deadly and apparently diversionary bomb attacks by the group hit Tikrit and Samarra, both north of Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq would continue hitting Islamic State targets in Syria and in neighboring countries if they give their approval.

Abadi on Feb. 24 announced the first Iraqi air strike on Syrian territory, targeting Islamic State positions in retaliation for bomb attacks in Baghdad.

"I respect the sovereignty of states, and I have secured the approval of Syria to strike positions (on its territory)," Abadi told a conference in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya on Wednesday.

"I will not hesitate to strike the positions of the terrorists in the neighboring countries," he said. We will keep on fighting them."

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-midea ... SKBN16F134
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:17 am

Iraqi forces retake Badoush prison

Iraqi forces have recaptured a prison north-west of Mosul that was reportedly the scene of a massacre by Islamic State militants, the military says.

Units of the army's 9th Armoured Division and allied militiamen raised the Iraqi flag over Badoush prison on Wednesday, a statement said.

It did not say whether they found anyone who was being detained by ISIS.

The Sunni extremist group is alleged to have killed up to 600 inmates there, most of them Shia Muslims, in 2014.

After the prison was seized that June, some 1,500 inmates were rounded up and transported by lorry to an isolated stretch of desert about 2km (1.2 miles) away, survivors told Human Rights Watch.

The gunmen separated the Shia inmates from the Sunnis and Christians and then marched them to a ravine, where they were forced to kneel along its edge.

The Shia inmates were shot in the head or back with assault rifles and automatic weapons, according to the survivors, who escaped by pretending to be dead or because they were shielded by the bodies of victims who fell on top of them.

It is not known whether the bodies were removed from the site, but the gunmen allegedly set fire to brush around the ravine and flames spread to the corpses.

Iraq's government launched an operation to retake Mosul in October, and announced that the city's eastern side had been liberated in January.

Troops are now pushing into the more densely-populated west.

Earlier, the military announced that it had taken full control of the last major road leading west to the town of Tal Afar, another ISIS bastion.

Commanders also revealed they had repelled a major counter-attack early on Tuesday, hours after recapturing the Nineveh provincial government headquarters.

Troops have also retaken the central bank's office and the city's museum, where militants had filmed themselves destroying ancient artefacts in 2015.

Associated Press reporters granted access to the museum on Wednesday found exhibition halls housing piles of rubble and a basement filled with ash.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Iraq would continue to target militants in neighbouring countries, as it did last month by carrying out air strikes against IS positions in Syria.

Mr Abadi said he would "not hesitate to strike the positions of terrorists", but stressed that attacks would only take place if the countries gave their consent.

Link to Article - Photos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39205684
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:19 am

ISIS fighters left in Mosul will die, says US envoy McGurk

Any so-called Islamic State (ISIS) fighters left in Mosul will die in the Iraqi city, a US envoy co-ordinating the offensive has said.

Brett McGurk, the senior US official in the counter-IS coalition, issued the warning after Iraqi forces cut off the last road out of the city, trapping IS fighters inside.

The jihadists have held Mosul, Iraq's second city, since 2014.

But Iraqi forces have managed to retake large areas in a months-long offensive.

They now control all of Mosul's eastern side, and the latest US-backed push against ISIS - which began on 5 March - has forced the extremists from key locations in the west, including the main local government headquarters and the famed Mosul museum.

There were believed to be no more than 2,500 IS fighters left in Mosul and the nearby town of Tal Afar, a US defence official said last week.

Heavy fighting continued over the weekend, with Mr McGurk telling reporters in Baghdad on Sunday "just last night, the ninth Iraqi army division... cut off the last road out of Mosul".

He added "Any of the fighters who are left in Mosul, they're going to die there, because they're trapped.

"So we are very committed to not just defeating them in Mosul, but making sure these guys cannot escape."

Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi, of Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service, said government forces now controlled "more than a third" of western Mosul.

He said he believed the fight would be easier than in eastern Mosul, which took 100 days to reclaim after the offensive was launched in October, finally falling in January.

However, federal police and rapid response units say they have now entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be tough due to its narrow alleyways through which armoured vehicles cannot pass.

Meanwhile, Joint Operations Command spokesman Brig Gen Yahya Rasool said he believed ISIS was weakening.

But he added: "The battle is not easy... we are fighting an irregular enemy who hides among the citizens and uses tactics of booby-trapping, explosions and suicide bombers, and the operation is taking place with precision to preserve the lives of the citizens."

It is thought there may be as many as 600,000 civilians still trapped in ISIS-controlled areas of Mosul.

The statements came a day after Iraqi forces said that a "large mass grave" had been found near the city.

It contained the remains of hundreds of "civilian prisoners who were executed by [ISIS] gangs after they controlled the prison during their occupation of Mosul".

Link to Photos - Video:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39251660
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:12 am

'Most terrorists will escape Mosul - like they escaped from Ramadi & Fallujah'

As Iraqi government forces are making significant progress in Mosul, RT spoke to experts and discussed whether retaking Mosul is the decisive moment in the fight against ISIS, and what steps should be taken after it.

Iraqi government forces have taken control of the main bridge in Mosul and advanced towards the mosque where the Islamic State's leader declared his caliphate in 2014.

However, the military is facing fierce terrorist resistance as it advances closer to the city center. Fighting in the densely populated areas has forced almost 100,000 people to flee in the last 19 days.

Chris Nineham, National Officer of the Stop the War Coalition, said retaking Mosul “probably will not” mean defeating ISIS “because we have to look at the big picture.”

We have to think about where ISIS comes from in the first place. It seems to me that they are actually a product more than anything of the chaos and carnage that has been caused by the war on terror over the last fifteen years in the Middle East generally and specifically in Iraq,” he said.

“And the massive damage to society that has been caused by the occupations, the anger against the West that is built up as a result of the occupations, and also they are a product of the sectarianism that has been built into the whole history of the war on terror,” Nineham added.

Regarding the potential of the Mosul operation to stabilize the situation, Nineham expressed his doubts, saying it “is going to… reinforce the level of chaos and killings. I don’t think that it is as easy as that being a kind of silver bullet, a military solution to the problem. The problem of ISIS runs much deeper.”
'Terrorists escaping Mosul'

Jurgen Todenhofer, is the first Western journalist to be granted access to territories controlled by Islamic State, spent 10 days in ISIS-controlled territory, suggested that “Mosul will be taken, will be conquered. ISIS will lose Mosul, but this doesn’t mean the end of ISIS terrorism.”

“Because most of the terrorists - we think there are now 2,500 ISIS fighting there - will escape like they escaped from Ramadi and Fallujah. It is not very difficult to escape; they escape with refugees, they escape through tunnels. Mosul is still not completely closed, that is completely wrong what we get from the American Pentagon, there are still ways to leave Mosul,” he said.

“I would say a high percentage of the terrorists, the majority of them will escape and they will create a new generation of terrorists. And these terrorists will be very hard because they think that they have survived the biggest battle against the Western countries and Eastern countries, too,” Todenhöfer told RT.

Vanessa Beeley, the independent researcher, and journalist told RT that “in Mosul, there is a complete downplaying of the possibility of a refugee crisis as a result of the US coalition bombing of civilians areas. Again, we see this tremendous

We see the corporate media basically recycling the news that is contained within the echo chamber of government foreign policy in Mosul,” she saidd.

"Yet again we are seeing demonstrated that our media are nothing more than stenographers for our governments," Beeley continued. "They are simply echo chambers that support the narrative of our governments to further their geopolitical agendas in whichever country they are operating in."

According to Beeley, “in Mosul, we don’t have … activists on the ground, we don’t have the White Helmets amplifying the propaganda as it did in Aleppo against the Syrian government and allies efforts to liberate East Aleppo from terrorist occupation. We don’t have any of that in Mosul, and we can only draw the conclusion that this is because the US coalition operation is effectively killing civilians during its process.”

“Somehow, the civilians that are killed under US coalition bombardment are effectively 'collateral damage' whereas of course, the loss of civilian life during the liberation of East Aleppo from terrorist occupation is a war crime. So that very clearly demonstrates the sheer imbalance of the media and the NATO-aligned NGO narrative in both situations,” Beeley said.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/380988-iraq- ... asualties/
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:31 am

The defeat of ISIS won’t end the Sunni insurgency in Iraq

The Iraqi military and its allies are on the verge of defeating Islamic State in its final and largest Iraqi stronghold of Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in his recent visit to Mosul said the defeat of Islamic State militants in Mosul is “inevitable.” Even Islamic State supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has issued a statement acknowledging his group’s defeat in Iraq and calling on fighters to either flee or carry out suicide attacks.

But a very important question arises – does crushing Islamic State in Mosul also put to an end the decade long Sunni insurgency in the country.

The answer is NO.

According to a recent report a new Sunni insurgency is already taking root in Iraq as the U.S.-led coalition continues to weaken the Islamic State's territorial strongholds, particularly in Mosul. The report, by the Washington D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War, warned that al Qaeda's top leadership will likely capitalize on ISIS's continued losses and attempt to gain influence within splinter militant groups opposed to the Shia-led government of Iraq. Al Qaeda has always remained active in Iraq despite being overshadowed by ISIS in recent years. Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri last August urged its Syrian branch to rebuild alliances in Iraq and resume a "long guerrilla warfare."

Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia (JRTN) popularly known as Naqshbandia, a neo-Baathist insurgent group which harnessed the 2013 protest movement, is now preparing to stoke its own fully fledged insurgency. JRTN earlier infused the anti-government protest movement with revolutionary rhetoric and traditional Baathist branding. It is very evident that a permissive environment is emerging for another Sunni insurgency in the vacuum of control left by ISIS, into which other actors will surely emerge. So just by defeating one outfit the Sunni insurgency can’t be put to an end.

The grassroots problems which fan these kinds of insurgency have to be addressed if we want long term solutions.

Sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shias is not a new phenomenon in Iraq but in the last decade Sunnis have been marginalised and pushed to the edge of the country. Iraqi Sunnis are disillusioned by the monopolization of power by a few Shia elite. Sunnis fear they are at risk of becoming a dispossessed underclass in lands they once ruled and there will be a repeat of the cycle of marginalization which was practiced by all Shia dominated governments since 2004. A Sunni politician in Baghdad said Americans raised the Kurds, Iran raised the Shias, but we, Sunnis, are like abused children. “We’re the orphans of Iraq.”

Extrajudicial execution by militias, forced disappearances and the destruction of homes and property is what Iraqi Sunnis are currently witnessing.

Amnesty International stated in a recent report that thousands remained detained without trial on suspicion of links to IS. Torture in detention remains rife. Courts sentence terrorism suspects to death, frequently after unfair trials. Executions continue at a high rate. Sunni heartlands are mostly on the frontline or in areas under ISIS control, while hostility from Shias, Kurds and others make it difficult for them to establish new lives elsewhere. The numbers are uncertain, but a rough estimate indicates that of Iraq’s perhaps 7 million Sunni Arabs, some 2.5 million are displaced, many of them now in Iraqi Kurdistan where they have to renew permits every four months, as if living in a foreign land. Some 1.5 million have left Iraq altogether.

In the name of fighting terror, Kurdish and Shia militias chased Sunnis off their lands, first in southern and northern Iraq and then in its centre. Checkpoints put Sunnis under a Shia siege, and in large parts prevent a mass Sunni return.

The outcome will be disastrous if conditions are not created to help Sunni Arabs in Iraq to address their original and mounting grievances as increased levels of sectarian tensions further help the ability of insurgents to capitalize on social conditions.

An end to Iraq’s sectarian warfare is a prerequisite in shifting the political focus away from questions of state legitimacy and toward those of state efficiency, corruption, and service delivery. These are key to the stability and sustainability of the Iraqi state where nationalism should prevail above sects and religious beliefs. Successful resettlement and reconstruction efforts that earn the Sunni population’s trust in the Iraqi Government can prevent Salafi/Jihadi groups from finding openings to resurge.

The U.S. should also help address the underlying issues that fuelled the Sunni insurgency and remain active in shaping Iraq’s political reconciliation efforts and encouraging inclusive governance. The U.S. should have the expectation that it will remain involved in some capacity in Iraq in order to ensure that anti-ISIS gains stick and that it has resolved the conditions that allowed insurgent groups to arise in 2013.

Every stakeholder in the country agrees that Iraq needs a civil modern democratic society, a state founded on the basis of equal citizenship for all its people. Without a durable post-ISIS strategy of national integration, soon the country will be in a greater chaos.

http://www.nrttv.com/En/birura-details. ... =5314#link
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:40 pm

Dozens killed, buried in rubble after Mosul air raid
say Iraqi officials and local residents


BAGHDAD, March 23 (Reuters) - Dozens of residents were buried in collapsed buildings in the Iraqi city of Mosul after an air strike against Islamic State triggered a massive explosion last week and rescuers are still recovering bodies, civil defence agency officials and locals said on Thursday.

The exact cause of the collapses was not clear, but a local lawmaker and two local residents said air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants may have detonated a truck filled with explosives, destroying buildings in a heavily populated area.

Civil Defence chief Brigadier Mohammed Al-Jawari told local reporters that rescue teams were retrieving bodies from under the debris in the Mosul Jadida district near Rahma hospital, the site of heavy fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State.

Reports of numbers of civilian casualties varied greatly after last Friday's air raid. But Jawari was quoted by al-Mosuliliya channel in a statement saying teams had so far recovered 40 bodies from buildings that collapsed.

"Finding survivors is very difficult because the area is completely destroyed," he told reporters. "It's a very big disaster, indeed we can describe it as a disaster."

The coalition did not give details on any specific air strike or comment on a Mosul Jadida district operation.

"We are aware of reports on airstrikes in Mosul resulting in civilian casualties. The Coalition conducted several strikes near Mosul and we will provide this information to our civilian casualty team for further investigation," the coalition said in a statement.

One Iraq official put the total casualties at more than 137. Bodies were believed to be still buried inside collapsed homes.

"A coalition air strike hit a residential street last Friday and destroyed at least 30 houses," a police civil defense official said. "We halted rescue operations today for lack of heavy equipment, jack hammers and trucks to remove debris."

Local lawmaker Faris al-Sanjari told Reuters the coalition air strike had targeted a truck bomb causing a huge explosion.

"You can't kill dozens just to destroy a booby-trapped truck parked near houses," he said.

One witness told Reuters heavy air strikes in the area began on March 7, but on Friday a strike hit a massive Islamic State truck bomb in a residential area, which exploded and destroyed seven homes where dozens of people were hiding.

Another resident said 25 homes were damaged. With fighting still going on, residents have been unable to recover bodies since the strike, the resident said.

Rights groups have expressed concern over the mounting civilian death toll, with Islamic State fighting among homes and densely-populated areas as the campaign to defeat the militant group in its last Iraqi stronghold enters its sixth month.

Iraqi military and U.S.-led coalition have been countering with heavy weaponry and air strikes to support troops on the ground moving into the narrow alleyways of Mosul's Old City.

Families fleeing Mosul have talked of high numbers of civilians killed by air strikes, and said that in many cases Islamic State fighters using homes as cover have already slipped away by the time airstrikes hit. Other displaced residents say they have been forced to act as human shields.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuter ... dents.html
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:09 pm

Coalition air strikes 'kill more than 200 people' in Mosul

More than 200 civilians are reported to have been killed in a single US-led coalition raid on Mosul, as the United Nations warned yesterday the worst was yet to come for those still trapped in the Iraqi city.

Some 230 bodies of mostly women and children were pulled from three adjoining houses in the Jadida neighbourhood of west Mosul overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning, according to witnesses.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) had taken over the buildings to use as sniper positions and had been holding civilians there which they had rounded up to use as human shields.

A Mosul resident who has been documenting life under Isil and now the battle for the city under the name MosulEye told the Telegraph one of the trapped residents called him yesterday pleading for help, saying they had been without food and water for four days.

“We asked them to rescue the people, but received no response,” said MosulEye, who passed the coordinates of the houses on to the Iraqi army.

He said Isil let off a car bomb in the area before the coalition air strike hit.

“This is what Isil wants,” he said. “They want the ISF (Iraqi special forces) and coalition to target civilians, this is why they are using them.”

Centcom, US Central Command, said: "We are aware of reports on airstrikes in Mosul resulting in civilian casualties. The coalition conducted several strikes near Mosul and we will provide this information to our civilian casualty team for further investigation."

Iraqi forces are pushing into the densely-populated Old City in west Mosul, where 400,000 people are trapped in increasingly desperate conditions.

Military officials saw Isil militants are deeply entrenched inside civilian homes, making it difficult for coalition forces to distinguish friend from foe.

Civilians are streaming out at an increasing rate, now averaging 8,000-12,000 per day, Bruno Geddo, UNHCR representative in Iraq, said.

"The worst is yet to come, if I can put it this way. Because 400,000 people trapped in the Old City in that situation of panic and penury may inevitably lead to the cork popping somewhere, sometime, presenting us with a fresh outflow of large-scale proportions," Mr Geddo said.

The UN has warned that civilians are at risk whether they choose to flee the city or remain in their homes.

Those who choose to stay face extreme risks of being hit by mortar fire and air strikes; while families who choose to leave are equally at risk of being injured or killed in car bombs and snipers.

The latest deadly raid sparks further concerns that the US military’s new rules of engagements may be causing an increase in civilian casualties.

The Trump administration has already “sped up” the process of approving airstrikes, but an official review could see the Pentagon approving attacks without presidential consent and the threshold of “near certainty” that there be no civilian deaths lowered.

Airwars, a UK-based organisation which monitors international strikes on Isil, suggested as many as 400 civilian deaths could be attributed to coalition raids in March alone.

“We are very concerned about the reports of Iraq government and coalition using heavy-handed tactics in west Mosul,” said Chris Wood, director of Airwars. "The US are not downplaying the number of casualties, but they don't have the monitoring on the ground to assess properly the presence of civilians and the number of casualties."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03 ... ing-mosul/

The Telegraph is a VERY serious newspaper/media outlet and not inclined to make fanciful unconfirmed claims - the FACT is that INNOCENT people are being SLAUGHTERED by the coalition air strikes as well as by ISIS X(
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:34 am

UN fears 200 died in coalition airstrike on Mosul

The United Nations has raised grave concerns about reports of high civilian casualties in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

A senior UN official in Iraq said she was stunned by accounts of "terrible loss of life", after claims that at least 200 people had been killed in an air strike by the US-led coalition.

US warplanes are supporting the Iraqi Army's mission to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).

US media reports say an investigation is under way.

It is not known exactly when the deaths are alleged to have happened.

However, reporters in western Mosul's Jadideh neighbourhood said they saw 50 bodies being pulled out of buildings on Friday, after they were razed in air attacks earlier in March.

Iraqi forces have been waging a months-long offensive to recapture Mosul, the last IS stronghold in Iraq, which has been occupied since 2014.

The New York Times quoted US military officials saying the coalition was investigating reports of civilian deaths from a strike between 17-23 March.

Colonel Joseph Scrocca, a spokesman for the US-led command in Baghdad, said that "the coalition has opened a formal civilian casualty credibility assessment on this allegation" from Mosul.

"This process takes time, though, especially when the date of the alleged strike is in question," he said.

The UN estimates that 400,000 Iraqi civilians are trapped in the Old City of Mosul as government forces battle to re-capture it.

More than 180,000 civilians have fled the west of the city in the past month, amid fears that an additional 320,000 may follow in the coming weeks.

Residents who have managed to flee say the militants are using civilians as human shields, hiding in houses and forcing young men to fight.

US officials believe there are about 2,000 IS fighters left in Mosul.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39383989
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:32 pm

Iraq suspends Mosul offensive after coalition airstrike atrocity

Iraqi military leaders have ordered a pause in their push to recapture west Mosul from Islamic State as international outrage mounted over a series of airstrikes that killed at least 150 people in one district of the embattled city alone.

Rescuers continued to retrieve bodies from the rubble of the Mosul Jadida neighbourhood on Saturday, more than a week after the coalition attacks, which are believed to have led to one of the highest civilian tolls in the region since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

A US Centcom statement confirmed coalition planes had carried out the attack on 17 March “at the request of the Iraqi security forces” and pledged to formally investigate the claims. The strike has intensified focus on civilian casualties in Mosul, where as many as 400,000 residents are thought to remain.

British planes were among those operating in west Mosul at the time. Asked if they could have been involved in the airstrikes, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence did not rule out the possibility of British involvement, saying: “We are aware of reports [of civilian casualties], and will support the coalition investigation as required.”

Civil defence workers say they have pulled more than 140 bodies from the ruins of three buildings and believe dozens more remain under the rubble of another, a large home with a once cavernous basement in which up to 100 people had hidden last Friday morning.

Locals at the site said the enormous damage caused to the homes and much of the surrounding area had been caused by airstrikes, which battered the neighbourhood during a pitched battle between Isis members and Iraqi forces.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said: “We are stunned by this terrible loss of life.” Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars, said: “The al-Jadida incident alone is the worst toll of a single incident that I can recall in decades. I cannot think of a higher toll from a single event.

As the scale of the disaster became apparent, Iraqi military sources confirmed they had been ordered not to launch new operations in east Mosul, echoing a statement from a federal police spokesman that cited concern about civilian casualties as a reason for a pause.

Mosul Jadida residents said three homes had taken direct hits from airstrikes and others had been damaged by debris and shelling. “They started in the morning and they continued till around 2pm,” said Mustafa Yeheya.

“There were [Isis fighters] on the roof of several of the buildings and they were in the streets fighting, but the strange thing is that the house they were hiding in, their military room, was not even hit. None of their bases were.”

Yeheya took the Observer to a cluster of homes around the corner from the destruction and pointed to one on which a pejorative for Isis had been spray-painted. “This was one of their bases,” he said. Machine-gun rounds, a filthy blanket and two black wigs littered the floor. “There is another house nearby where they coordinated their movements.”

Iraqi officials had been anxious to portray themselves as protectors of the civilians of Mosul, where the battle has been split into two halves, demarcated by the Tigris river, which bisects the city. The fight for the east bank took three months and, while civilians died during the fighting, it was seen as a military success.

The western bank was always expected to be a tougher proposition, with narrow lanes and densely packed districts meaning it would require difficult street fighting to subdue a dug-in enemy determined to hold on to its last urban stronghold in Iraq.

Journalists were banned from entering the west of the city on Saturday and Iraqi commanders could not be contacted. Iraqi and US forces have previously said that Isis deliberately blended among the civilian population and, in some cases, had stationed themselves near civilian targets in a bid to increase casualties, and to slow the offensive against them.

The Centcom statement said: “Our goal has always been for zero civilian casualties, but the coalition will not abandon our commitment to our Iraqi partners because of Isis’s inhuman tactics terrorizing civilians, using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighborhoods.”

Muawiya Ismael, a local man who said he had lost six members of his clan in the attack, said: “It is true that this was a battle zone and that Isis were here. They had about 15 people in the area, and they were in high positions. But they did not have heavy guns. Nothing that should justify an attack of this scale. It was not in proportion to the threat and soldiers could have fixed this.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... e-atrocity
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:55 am

Shell-shocked Mosul survivors tell of intense airstrikes

Hundreds of people have fled west Mosul during a lull in fighting but many had to leave behind family members buried in the remains of their former homes

Covered in dust, their hands raw from digging, Ali Assad and his cousin made a desperate choice – to leave their family under the rubble of their west Mosul home and flee while they still could.

The two men were among hundreds to be evacuated on Sunday, during a lull in the fighting prompted by outrage over the high civilian toll caused by multiple airstrikes that have battered the city and its trapped population over the past eight days.
Iraq suspends Mosul offensive after coalition airstrike atrocity
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With the ground war now suspended as a result, families that have sheltered in ruins or taken their chances in what is left of their homes have been leaving Mosul in droves, many arriving shell shocked and starving at refugee processing centres on its southern outskirts, where they spoke of more than a week of terror.

“There are six of my family still under our house,” said Assad, 32, cupping his raw hands. “My father, I saw him die in front of me, my brother, two sisters and two cousins. My mother survived, but then she was hit by some other explosion and a concrete slab fell on her. She’s badly hurt.”

Both men said that 15 people remained buried under three homes in the Yarmouk area of Mosul after a series of airstrikes on 22 March. The attacks took place amid a barrage of strikes by jets in support of a ground push by Iraqi forces that started around 17 March. On that afternoon, the Mosul Jadida neighbourhood was also repeatedly hit, leading to what could be the highest civilian toll of any airstrike in the region since the invasion of Iraq 14 years ago. At least 150 people are thought to have been killed, many of whom died during the five days it took for help to arrive.

At least 80 people are believed to have died while taking shelter in the basement of one of the houses hit, the largest in the neighbourhood, in which local families had sought refuge.

Assad said dozens of people remained buried under rubble in the Yarmouk and Jadida neighbourhoods. “There is no civilian defence, no rescue teams. It is only us and our hands. Everyone has to fend for themselves.”

The lack of a coordinated rescue effort is being blamed by local authorities on the fighting, which has ground to a stalemate as Isis attempts to consolidate its losses and dig in around the centre of west Aleppo, a densely packed area of homes and narrow roads.

Numerous survivors of the fighting have spoken of people, among them children, shouting for help from the ruins, but having no help from local authorities, or access to digging equipment to use by themselves.

“There was not a thing we could do,” said another evacuee, Abdul Wahab Hashimi, who said his neighbours’ bodies remained buried in the ruins of their home in the Mansour district. Residents of west Mosul had been seen as the most vulnerable population in the fight against the terror group. Up to 350,000 people are thought to remain in the city, some being used by Isis as human shields and others unable to flee until the fighting opens up a front for them.

Even then, the escape is typically a dangerous walk through a battlefield, before a long fraught journey to a refugee camp. Jonathan Whittall, project co-ordinator for an MSF medical centre south of Mosul, said: “We have ... witnessed a disturbing trend of some patients reaching our hospital after a significant delay of up to four days.

“One father and son that I met recently had been trapped under rubble for four days after an airstrike and they reached us exhausted, hungry and bewildered. Others who are wounded further away from the front lines into west Mosul can only reach us after the frontline has moved and they are able to escape. We are very concerned about the patients who are unable to reach us and whose treatment is delayed.”

The medical centre, the largest in the area, was nearly empty on Sunday for the first time since it opened several months ago. Since then, MSF alone has treated 1,500 people for conflict-related trauma, many of the cases severe or life threatening.

Medics supporting the Mosul operation said it is difficult to be specific about the proportion of casualties they are treating who were wounded by airstrikes as opposed to other weapons of war. However, the high number of people buried under rubble indicates that attacks from jets make up a significant component.

US military officials have acknowledged that the strike on Mosul Jadida was carried out by coalition jets and said it was requested by Iraqi officers. US Central Command has launched a formal investigation. While ground fighting stopped on Sunday, fighter jets were still present in the skies above Mosul. US officials said five airstrikes targeting Isis near Mosul were carried out on Saturday.

At the refugee processing centre, Brig Hisham al-Assadi, a senior intelligence official for Iraq’s special operations forces, said: “We try very hard to limit casualties, but Isis blends among them. They are happy when civilians are killed. This is war and we wish it was different. They don’t speak, they don’t say a word when they get here,” he said of the refugees. “We tell them, ‘you don’t have to fear any more,’ then we take them to the camps.”

On the road past the rubbish-strewn yard where army trucks disgorge Mosul’s latest refugees, an American convoy rumbled past, while more jets roared overhead. Their presence went unnoticed by men and boys who lined up to receive water and no one seemed prepared to blame any side for their misery. A father approached the Guardian and said: “My little boy loves the taste of American cakes, do you have any?”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... airstrikes
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:22 am

Bombs hit busy market in Mosul causing huge fire

The busy Nabi Younus market in east Mosul was hit by bombs on Sunday afternoon at around 2pm local time. The shelling caused a huge fire that spread quickly through the cramped stalls, locals and firefighters worked together to extinguish it. It's believed two people have died, but reports say as many as 16 people have been killed in the attack.

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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:53 pm

Mosul battle: US 'may be responsible' for civilian deaths

A US army general has said coalition forces "probably" played a role in the 17 March air strike on west Mosul which may have killed more than 100 people

Lt Gen Stephen Townsend said the US had carried out air strikes in that part of Iraq on that day.

He said there was "at least a fair chance" the US was responsible, in "an unintentional accident of war."

But he said it was also possible that so-called Islamic State (IS) had rigged the building with explosives.

A house in Mosul's western Jadida district was reportedly hit by an air strike targeting IS snipers and equipment.

Witnesses said IS had previously forced at least 140 civilians into the house to be used as human shields, and had booby-trapped the building.

The US army chief of staff, visiting Baghdad, echoed Gen Townsend's remarks, saying an investigation would create "some degree of certainty".

"It is very possible that Daesh blew up that building to blame it on the coalition in order to cause a delay in the offensive into Mosul and cause a delay in the use of coalition airstrikes," Gen Mark Milley said, using an alternative name for IS.

But he also admitted: "It is possible the coalition air strike did it."

The Iraqi military has denied the loss of life was caused by a coalition air strike, saying it found "no sign" of a strike and instead found "a huge detonated booby-trapped vehicle" nearby.

Amnesty International has released a report accusing the coalition of failing to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths.

The human rights group said it had evidence of an "alarming pattern" of air strikes on Mosul which "destroyed whole houses with entire families inside".

The UN's human rights chief has called for a review of tactics used by the coalition for the same reason.

Zeid Raad Al Hussein said bodies were being found in buildings where IS had reportedly held people as human shields and were later targeted in air strikes.

He urged the coalition to avoid such "traps" and abide by international law.

But the US authorities insist the rules of engagement have not changed and there has been no drop in standards.

"Although our partners and the coalition have made mistakes that harmed civilians, we have never targeted them - not once," Lt Gen Townsend said.

The battle to recapture the city began five months ago, and the eastern part has been retaken in that time. But west Mosul remains the scene of chaotic fighting at street level.

More than 286,000 civilians living in the city have fled their homes during the fighting but many more have followed the Iraqi government's repeated instructions to stay put until they are reached by troops.

According to information verified by the UN, at least 307 people were killed and another 273 injured between 17 February, when the government launched an assault on the western half of Mosul, and 22 March.

There have also been reports of IS snipers shooting at civilians attempting to flee IS-held areas towards advancing coalition troops.

"[IS]'s strategy of using children, men and women to shield themselves from attack is cowardly and disgraceful. It breaches the most basic standards of human dignity and morality," said Mr Zeid.

"And shooting civilians in the back as they flee for their lives is an act of monstrous depravity."

Link to Article - Photos - Videos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39421435

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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:03 pm

US-led coalition must do more to avoid civilian deaths in Mosul

High commissioner tells Iraqi and US forces to ‘avoid the trap’ of targeting buildings where Isis has told residents to take shelter

The UN has urged Iraqi and US-led forces to do more to protect civilians in the war against Islamic State in Mosul and accused the terror group of herding trapped residents into buildings that are likely to be targeted by airstrikes.

The intervention by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, comes after at least 150 people died in a series of coalition airstrikes – detailed by the Guardian last week – on one neighbourhood in the ravaged west of the Iraqi city.

The devastation prompted claims that protocols governing the use of bombs dropped from jets have been loosened since the start of the Mosul operation.

In a report released on Tuesday, Zeid implored Iraqi forces and the coalition to “avoid the trap” of targeting buildings in which Isis had placed explosives and told residents to take shelter.

Such a scenario has been central to a debate that is still raging as more bodies from the 17 March attacks are recovered from the Jadidah neighbourhood in Mosul. On Tuesday the top US commander in Iraq acknowledged the likelihood that the US-led coalition had a role in the blasts, but said that Isis may also be to blame.

“My initial assessment is that we probably had a role in these casualties,” Lt Gn Stephen Townsend told a Pentagon news briefing. “What I don’t know is were they [the civilians] gathered there by the enemy? We still have some assessments to do … My initial impression is the enemy had a hand in this. And there’s also a fair chance that our strike had some role in it.”

Townsend added that the munitions used by the US should not have been able to bring down the entire building.

The US has previously admitted that coalition jets were bombing in the area that day and launched a formal investigation into why three buildings, in which civilians were hiding, had been hit.

Dozens of civilians died on one day of coalition air strikes on the suburb of Mosul Jadida

While there have been reports of Isis troops setting booby traps in other homes as they flee Mosul, locals who survived, or witnessed, the strikes said they are in no doubt that bombs dropped from jets caused the devastation – and not explosives left in the homes in which they hid, as has been claimed by the Iraqi government.

Iraqi officials have rejected a claim by Maj Gen Maan al-Saadi, the commanding officer of special operations forces who are fighting in the area, that airstrikes caused the damage and were called in by Iraqi officers. The US has also said that the attacks were requested by the Iraqi military.

Iraqi political and military leaders have been anxious to position themselves as liberators of Mosul – the last main stronghold of Isis in Iraq – and are sensitive to criticism that civilians have been killed or mistreated as the battle for the remaining districts of the city intensifies. Zeid called on Iraqi and coalition forces to conduct transparent investigations into the Jadidah incident and other deadly attacks.

One survivor, Lina Shaab Ahmed, 30, provided more detail about the days – and moments - before the explosion that killed at least 90 people in one home, trapping her in the rubble.

Speaking from an Erbil hospital, she said: “On [the previous] Monday, the Islamic State launched a car bomb and prepared a bomb in a truck. They came to us and told us not to be scared as they would attack the Iraqi forces. We were hiding in one house and a big explosion blew out the windows. An Islamic State soldier came to us and said, ‘If you want to leave, leave, it is not safe.’

“He said that the big house where the explosion happened was safe. The basement was full of refugees. The ground floor was for the family that owned the house. Myself, my family and parents-in-law went to the second floor. I believe there were about 150 people in the house. There was an Isis sniper on the roof. I saw the plane approaching with my own eyes. I saw it from the window.”

She did not describe secondary explosions that are typical of a booby-trapped house being hit and claimed the enormous damage was caused by several airstrikes. At the site of the main attack, adjoining buildings remain structurally intact, indicating a precisely targeted explosive force that did not spread outwards.

A different blast pattern was evident in two nearby homes, in which dozens of people were also killed, with damage concentrated at the front of both buildings.

While several witnesses at the scene did describe civilians being urged by Isis to take shelter in the building, many others said people unwittingly took shelter and were not coerced to do so.

During a subsequent airstrike on 22 March in the Rajm Hadid area, however, the UN said Isis did order people to take cover. “[They] reportedly filled the house with people from the surrounding neighbourhood, including children, and then used the house to launch rocket-propelled grenades against the Iraqi security forces,” a spokesman for Zeid said, quoting survivors.

“Clearly it is not easy,” he said. “We’re not saying it is. But they [the coalition and the Iraqi army] do have obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... ul-says-un
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Re: Updates on Ongoing Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:12 pm

Iraqi government 'made a mistake' by attacking Mosul before capturing Isis sanctuaries

Endgames: inside Iraq In his second dispatch, Patrick Cockburn speaks with the Governor of Kirkuk, who says Isis will survive fall of Iraqi city because it can still find support among displaced Sunni Arabs

The Iraqi government made a mistake that will allow Isis to survive by seeking to capture Mosul before eliminating other Isis safe havens in northern and western Iraq to which its fighters can retreat, according to a senior Iraqi leader.

“It would have been better first to eliminate Daesh (Isis) sanctuaries to which they can retreat when Mosul falls,” says Najmaldin Karim, the Governor of the oil province of Kirkuk, in an interview with The Independent. He says that half of Kirkuk province is still held by Isis and cited, in particular, the Hawija area, a notorious stronghold south west of Kirkuk city of Isis and previously of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraqis in general are wondering if the long-delayed capture of Mosul will prove to be a decisive defeat for Isis and the self-declared Caliphate or will it return to guerrilla warfare and terrorism. Mr Karim believes that it will not be able to capture territory as it once did, but it will go on fighting. There has been an upsurge in pin-prick Isis attacks in places that has been quiet over the last year.

Mr Karim says that not only does Isis still have sanctuaries, but it can draw on a disaffected Sunni Arab population who have been displaced by the war. He points out that in Kirkuk province alone “there are 500,000 Sunni Arabs who had to leave their homes and are not being allowed to return”. Most come from Baghdad and the provinces around it from which the Sunni have been forced to flee by Shia militia, the Hashd al-Shaabi, and the Shia-dominated security forces. He said that 200,000 people who came from solidly Sunni towns and villages were being permitted to go back, but not the larger number who came from previously mixed communities of Sunni and Shia.

The great majority were displaced when Isis began a series of offensives in early 2014 which culminated in the fall of Mosul in June and brought Isis fighters to within an hour’s drive of Baghdad at the height of their success. Isis has since lost much, but by no means all, of the territory that it seized then which was largely inhabited by Sunni Arabs.

Isis terrorist tactics, and especially the thousands of suicide bombing attacks on Shia civilians, provoked sectarian hatred or at least deep suspicion directed against Sunni Arabs on the part of Shia, Yazidis and Christians that has not dissipated. These atrocities are still continuing.

“There is no reconciliation [between Sunni and Shia],” says Mr Karim and this provides fertile ground for Isis to recruit fighters. The number of these may be growing in places like Hawija and Tal Afar west of Mosul as Isis loses ground elsewhere. He adds that “the Prime Minister [Haider al-Abadi] issues directives saying that places have been liberated and their people can go home, but nothing happens.” He suggested that the motive was “to make these areas pure” or, in other words, cleansed of Sunni Arabs who might support Isis or some similar militarised Sunni fundamentalist movement.

“Mosul is a mess,” says Mr Karim, referring to the deep divisions between Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Yazidis and Shabak as well as interference by outside powers such a Turkey. Once Isis is defeated in the city, then each will demand a cut of the cake or a restoration of their previous position. “When I was student in Mosul [in the 1960s] the city was 40 per cent Kurdish, but they all had to get out,” says Mr Karim.

A problem in Iraq is that reconciliation will require reconstruction of wrecked Sunni cities and towns and this is not happening in Fallujah and Ramadi. Not only is the Iraqi government corrupt and dysfunctional, but it is very short of money because of the fall in the price of oil and the cost of the war. “It only just has enough money to pay salaries and pensions,” says Mr Karim. “There is nothing left for rebuilding. We have not received any money for this from Baghdad since 2014.”

The decision to attack Mosul first before mopping up several other areas with a strong Isis presence was largely an American one. Previously senior Iraqi officials had spoken of a slower approach. But the campaign to capture Mosul has been very much a US organised operation, though US generals have tried to give the impression that they are in a supporting role. The US also created the political conditions for an offensive, by brokering an agreement between the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which has powerful military forces, and the Baghdad central government.

Baghdad and the Kurds have long been in dispute over a swathe of territory, which includes operating and potential oilfields, stretching across northern Iraq from the Syrian to the Iranian frontier. The Arab-Kurdish confrontation, which had at times come close to a shooting war prior to the rise of Isis in 2014 has hitherto been out to one side.

But this forced collaboration may weaken as fear of Isis subsides. There was a large crowd of Iraqi media and officials outside Mr Karim’s office on Tuesday as the red, white and green Kurdish flag was officially unfurled beide the flag of Iraq for the first time in Kirkuk, which is the most important of the disputed territories. Mr Karim played down the immediate significance of the flag raising, but it is clear evidence that as the Isis threat subsides, even if it does not disappear, Iraq remains a deeply divided country.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 54851.html
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