ISHM: September 23 – 29, 2016

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Key Takeaways:

  • Kirkuk Reported to be Forcing Returns of IDPs without Explanation as Conditions in Hawija Worsen According to the UNHCR, officials in Kirkuk have pressed nearly 8,000 IDPs to depart the province since the beginning of September–allegations that the Kirkuk Provincial Council denies. At least 30 of these expelled families are living on the outskirts of farming villages north of Baquba in Diyala Province without access to adequate food, water, or medical care. The reason for the expulsions is under investigation after an agreement was reached between a Parliamentary Delegation and the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, to allow the continued presence of IDPs in Kirkuk until the end of the year. Meanwhile, Iraqi Security Forces remain hesitant to clear Hawija (a city of about 100 thousand in Kirkuk Province) of ISIS militants despite deteriorating humanitarian conditions. more…
  • ISIS Increases Restrictions in Mosul as Joint Forces Continue Preparations ISIS militants in Mosul are retaliating against citizens in the city for increased incidents of civil resistance and losses of supply routes that have heavily impacted the so-called Islamic State’s finances. According to sources in Ninewa Province, ISIS has imposed increased taxes on residents, has banned women from wearing veils in certain parts of the city out of concern for militant safety, and is blocking streets with concrete barriers and planting IEDs to slow the advancement of security forces ahead of impending operations to clear the city. On September 28, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that the United States will send 600 more troops to Iraq to “train and advise” Iraqi Security Forces during their preparations, bringing the total count of U.S. troops in the country to 5,262. more…
  • Baghdad Sees an Uptick in Crime and Violence Iraqi Security Forces remain overextended as they concentrate efforts to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. The focus has resulted in an uptick of violent crime, IEDs, suicide bombings, and theft in Baghdad where the security situation remains tenuous at best. See below for a readout of major crimes that have occurred in the city over the past week and a map of IED incidents across Iraq since September 23. more…
  • Joint Security Forces Continue Operations in Anbar Province U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes assisted Iraqi Security Forces and Popular Mobilization Units in ongoing efforts to eliminate ISIS’s presence in Ramadi, Hit, al-Baghdadi, and elsewhere in Anbar Province. Ramadi was originally cleared of ISIS militants in December of last year but has seen the return of ISIS operatives who have fled other cleared areas such as Fallujah and Sharqat. Such resurgence should be a significant concern for security forces as they look to clear Mosul, but has not been publicly addressed in operations planning. more…
  • Reports Shed Light on Conditions within IDP Camps The UNHCR released the results of a survey of nearly 18 thousand IDPs living in various camps across Iraq. Of those surveyed, half reported their current accommodation quality as “poor” or “very poor” and only 20% indicated an intention to return to their place of origin, mostly out of concern that their homes remain unsafe. A separate report by the UNHCR indicated that the prevalence of child marriage and survival sex (prostitution done out of extreme need) in IDP camps in Iraq is very high, due to the notably poor economic situation and limited financial opportunities. Additionally, according to the International Medical Corps, psychological distress (both observed and self-reported) including developmental disorders in children, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress is extremely prevalent. more…
  • Returns and Reconstruction Encouraged Despite Limited Resources Minister of Displacement and Migration Mohammed Jassim reported that only one third of the funds pledged by the Iraqi government and international community to aid IDP returns has been received (approximately US$ 350 million). Despite the significant funding shortfall and ongoing security concerns about ISIS resurgence and IEDs, IDPs are being actively encouraged to return to cities ostensibly cleared of ISIS militants, including Qayyarah, Sharqat, and Fallujah. According to Jassim, of the 3.3 million IDPs in Iraq, about one third have returned to their places of origin and the Ministry has a goal to return an additional 1.5 million this year. The International Organization for Migration cites a similar number of IDPs, and approximately 900 thousand returnees. more…
  • Maliki Calls for Barzani’s Arrest as Protests Erupt in Kurdistan On September 29, thousands of protesters gathered in Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan to demand payment of salaries owed to them by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil since at least February. Sources on the ground reported that at one point protesters chanted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s name to show their preference for Baghdad’s government over the KRG. The same day, President of the KRG Massoud Barzani was in Baghdad to discuss impending operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. During the visit, Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for Barzani’s arrest for “collaborating with foreign governments, smuggling the country’s oil wealth, and dealing with terrorist regimes.” Barzani’s trip comes after the recent dismissal of the Finance Minister and fellow Iraqi Kurd, Hoshyar Zebari, which was spearheaded by Maliki and contributed to increased tensions between Baghdad and Erbil. more…
  • Key Cabinet Positions Remain Vacant as Parliament Moves to Question More Ministers Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki submitted the signatures of 65 Members of Parliament to Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, officially requesting the testimony of Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on charges of corruption. Testifying before Parliament is typically the first step toward a vote of no confidence. The Council of Ministers is already thin after the Ministers of Defense and Finance were ousted from their positions on corruption charges in August, and following the resignations of the Ministers of Interior and Trade and Industry in July – all of whom have not yet been replaced. more…

Kirkuk Reported to be Forcing Returns of IDPs without Explanation as Conditions in Hawija Worsen

On September 23, a source within the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga reported that the Peshmerga have received 248 internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City. The source explained that the IDPs were screened for ties to ISIS before being granted admittance into one of the IDP camps in Kirkuk, where they were given food, water, and medicine. There have been conflicting reports, as previously reported in ISHM, that the Peshmerga have been rejecting and forcibly deporting IDPs under the direction of the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim.

On September 24, President of the Greater Council of Villages of Diyala Province, Mohamed Davan al-Obeidi, reported the arrival of 30 displaced families in the outskirts of the region, 63 kilometers north of Baquba in Diyala Province, who had been “expelled” from camps in Kirkuk by the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga. Al-Obeidi noted that these families will face dire humanitarian conditions on the outskirts of the villages, and that the Council is investigating why these IDPs were expelled from Kirkuk in the first place. On September 26, the Department of Displacement and Migration in Diyala Province reported that the number of displaced families expelled from Kirkuk and now stranded in the outskirts of villages north of Baquba had increased to 100. On September 27, Al Sumaria News reported on the conditions within the makeshift camp inhabited by these stranded IDPs. The IDPs, including many women, children, and the elderly, are forced to sleep in the open in the harsh desert environment or in primitive huts they have made out of their clothes and belongings. There is limited food and no running water. The Chairman of the Committee of Displacement and Migration in Diyala Province, Abdelkhaliq al-Azzawi, acknowledged the humanitarian crisis and called for coordination by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga to expedite security screenings of the IDPs so that they can move on to more hospitable conditions.

On September 25, the Director of the Department of Displacement and Migration in Kirkuk Province, Ammar al-Sabah, announced that the Peshmerga have received 193 IDPs fleeing ISIS militants in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City. The IDPs were reportedly transferred to IDP camps where they received relief assistance.

On September 25, an agreement was reached between a Parliamentary Delegation and the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, to allow the continued presence of IDPs from Anbar Province and the city of Baiji in Salah ad-Din Province who have taken shelter in IDP camps in Kirkuk until the end of the year. The Parliamentary Delegation was headed by Member of Parliament Hamid al-Mutlaq and Undersecretary of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration Jassim al-Attiyah and consisted of officials from the Anbar Provincial Council and tribal leaders, who negotiated with Karim to postpone the expulsion of IDPs.

On September 26, the Kirkuk Provincial Council denied all reports of “expulsion” of IDPs from the province, and stressed that any returns of IDPs to their homes in cities cleared of ISIS militants came at the behest of the Iraqi Government. The Council called the reports “fabricated” and stated that their goal was to “create problems and stir up strife.” The Council explained that the decision to return IDPs was not ill intended, but was carefully considered by the Parliamentary High Committee on Shelter and Relief to the Displaced, who arrived at the conclusion that the return of IDPs to their homes is the best solution to preserve their dignity and allow them to return to normal life instead of living in overcrowded tents where their most basic needs could not be met.

On September 27, Almada Press reported that 450 displaced families fleeing ISIS violence in Hawija, 65 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City, were received in Kirkuk Province and relocated to camps where they were given food and aid. IDPs interviewed by Almada Press described the humanitarian condition in Hawija as rife with “death and famine” and “a prison,” and spoke of thousands of families being held hostage by ISIS. According to their statements to Almada Press, those remaining in Hawija lack water, electricity, medicine, and, most significantly, food: the price of a large of flour or sugar has reportedly reached 1 million Iraqi dinars (approximately US$ 846), and residents have resorted to eating grass and crushing date stones to make their own flour. Children are reportedly dying due to malnutrition and lack of access to medicine. Sheikh Abdullah al-Asi of the Shammar tribe — Iraq’s largest tribal confederation — and many of Kirkuk’s Arabs have frequently called on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the ISF, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, and PMUs to expedite the clearing ISIS militants from Hawija, and condemned the media and government for “ignoring” the humanitarian crisis in Hawija.

On September 27, Supervisor for the Liberation of Hawija, Anwar al-Assi, called upon Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, to “immediately” launch operations to clear Hawija from ISIS militants. He claimed that joint security forces should be used to end the “siege of tens of thousands of residents of the south and west of Kirkuk.”

On September 27, an anonymous local source reported that ISIS militants detained five members of the Zakat organization on the “outskirts” of Hawija, 55 kilometers west of Kirkuk, after ISIS militants claimed that they “were without beards.” Local sources claimed that 600 million Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 515,000) disappeared when eight members of the Zakat organization fled from Hawija on September 26.

On September 27, an anonymous security source in the Kirkuk Province reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a gathering of ISIS militants at an industrial technical institute in Hawija, and at an agriculture checkpoint. During the operations 10 ISIS militants were killed and 14 injured.

On September 27, leader of a PMU, Jabbar Maamouri, reported that an ISIS militant was killed by a women when he tried to kidnap the woman’s nine year old daughter in a farming village near Hawija, 55 kilometers west of Kirkuk. The mother and her daughter fled after the mother stabbed and killed the ISIS militant. ISIS militants burned down the family’s house and began searching for the mother and daughter.

On September 27, an anonymous local source in Kirkuk reported that ISIS militants evacuated five areas in Hawija in order to “eliminate fear” from advancing joint security forces. The locations of the evacuated areas and the destinations of the ISIS militants who evacuated were not given.

On September 28, an anonymous source in the Kirkuk Province reported that 16 potential ISIS suicide bombers were killed and 17 injured when a suicide based improvised explosive device (SBIED) detonated due to a “defect” in the explosive belt during a gathering of ISIS militants to discuss attacks on security forces in the al-Mahwis village, 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. Without giving any specific names, the source claimed that “leaders” of ISIS were also killed and injured in the incident.

On September 28, PMU leader, Hassan Sufi, reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a vehicle of an ISIS security official named Abd al-Nasser Ghazi Mohammed al-Chechani (“the Chechen”) and four of his aides on a road between Kirkuk and Hawija, 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, resulting in the death of all ISIS militants in the vehicle. No further information was given about the strike.

On September 28, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on the forced return of IDPs by the government in Kirkuk. UNHCR reported that the Kirkuk authorities removed over 330 IDPs (originating from Diyala, Salah ad-Din, and Anbar provinces) from Laylan Camp on September 22 and took them to the Daquq checkpoint, 15 kilometers southwest of Laylan Camp. 30 displaced families who were forced to leave Laylan Camp and return to their places of origin in al-Uthaim District in Diyala Province on September 24 are now living in the open, as their houses in al-Uthaim were destroyed. Overall, Kirkuk authorities have reportedly pressed 7,800 IDPs (1,307 families) to depart the province since the start of September. Some have returned to their areas of origin, often to areas that are highly insecure and lack adequate shelter. The exact number of displaced families who have left transitional camps in Kirkuk where no monitors are present is unknown. IDPs in Laylan Camp have expressed concern, with an estimated 1,000 families at immediate risk of being pressured to leave. Already over 600 have registered to depart to avoid potential forced removal.

On September 28, the Health Committee of the Diyala Provincial Council launched a relief campaign for families “forcibly expelled” from Kirkuk who are trapped in poor humanitarian conditions in the desert outskirts of farming villages north of Baquba in the Diyala Province. The Health Committee also called on the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights to establish a commission of inquiry on the original reason for the expulsion of these IDPs from Kirkuk, which has not been communicated by authorities in Kirkuk. The IDPs cannot be granted the security clearance required to return to their places of origin in Diyala Province until this information is available.

On September 29, Al Sumaria News reported that Diyala Province received 150 IDPs who had been forcibly removed by the Peshmerga from IDP camps in Kirkuk and had been stranded on the outskirts of farming villages northwest of Baquba. According to the source, the IDPs had finally been given security clearance by Diyala authorities to return to their homes in Diyala Province. There is no further information available about why they were expelled from Kirkuk at this time.

On September 29, an anonymous source reported that the Iraqi Air Force targeted a gathering of ISIS militants inside tunnels in Hawija, 45 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. The operation resulted in the death of 13 ISIS militants including ISIS “leader” Abu Nasser al-Zubai.


ISIS Increases Restrictions in Mosul as Joint Forces Continue Preparations

On September 22, an anonymous source in the Salah al-Din police reported that joint security forces arrested an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militant who was hiding in the city of Sharqat, 120 kilometers north of Tikrit. The ISIS militant shaved his beard in an attempt to evade security forces, but people in the area provided information to joint security forces of the militant location.

On September 23, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted ISIS sites in Rashad, 35 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk. The airstrikes resulted in the death of ISIS militant leader Ahmed Aziz Saleh and four of his companions including Abu Qatada, an ISIS “official” of the Salah al-Din Ayoubi Brigade.

On September 23, an anonymous security source reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted an ISIS convoy of nine vehicles in the Zab District, 75 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, and a group of ISIS militants in a undisclosed area in the southwest regions of Kirkuk. The operations resulted in the death of 15 ISIS militants.

On September 23, leader of the PMU faction in Hawija, Hassan Sufi, reported that “dozens” of ISIS militants surrendered to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. Sufi claimed that the ISIS militants in the area could not retreat or fight after joint security forces have taken strategic villages in Kirkuk Province.

On September 23, an anonymous local source in Ninewa reported that ISIS was setting up checkpoints and blocking streets with concrete barriers in Mosul in anticipation for the invasion by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The anonymous source also claimed that ISIS militants created trenches in southern Mosul and closed down interior neighborhoods and alleyways to inhibit security forces from reaching the center of Mosul.

On September 24, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) media official in Mosul, Ghyath Alsurja, reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted a “Sharia Court” for ISIS in the center of Mosul. The airstrike resulted in the deaths of 11 civilians and the destruction of a number of houses near the court.

On September 24, PUK media official Ghyath Alsurja reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted an ISIS factory that manufactured improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Ba’ashiqah and Bahzani village, 20 kilometers north of Mosul. During the operation, six ISIS militants were killed.

On September 24, the governor of Salah al-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, reported that joint security forces were beginning an operation to take the Azwai City, 70 kilometers north of Tikrit. Al-Jabouri claimed that joint security forces were within 3 kilometers of the center of the area and reported no casualties.

On September 25, anonymous local sources in the Ninewa Province reported that “fighters from among the people of Mosul” killed two ISIS militants and a chemical weapons maker named Abu Sulaiman near the Al-Qadisiyah neighborhood in Mosul. The bodies of the ISIS militants sustained gunshot and stab wounds.

On September 25, al-Sumaria news reported that an anonymous source from Sharqat, 103 kilometers south of Mosul, claimed that security forces were able to detain the “ISIS governor in Sharqat” Abu Omar Alasavi. Alasavi was reportedly disguised as a woman and was carrying the names of ISIS militants along with instructions to burn civilian homes and bomb security forces.

On September 25, Salah al-Din Governor Ahmed Abdullah al-Jabouri reported that security forces cleared ISIS militants from the Almsahag neighborhood, 65 kilometers north of Tikrit. Al-Jabouri called upon the central government to contribute in the “reconstruction and rehabilitation” of the province and to help in the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were affected by the conflict.

On September 26, the Brigade Commander of the PMU factions in Salah al-Din Province Asham Jabouri reported that ISIS militants had succeeded in retaking the city of Azwai when security forces “withdrew” from the area to “save fighters.” Jabouri denied that his withdrawal was due to disagreements between him and the leadership of the Salah al-Din operation.

On September 27, Joint Special Operations Commander Brigadier General Yahya Rasul reported that “national and international stakeholders” are preparing to take Mosul and “develop plans” to protect citizens in conflict areas. Rasul commented that a meeting was held to prepare security forces for the humanitarian requirements that need to be adopted for people who will be displaced by the Mosul operations. He reported that there will be “subsequent meetings” to discuss government humanitarian obligations.

On September 27, U.S-led international coalition spokesman John Dorian, at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad reported that ISIS is attempting to create a chemical weapons industry in Mosul. Dorian claimed that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike destroyed “60 bombs” at a “laboratory” that created chemical weapons. The militants have reportedly used facilities at Mosul University since their June 2014 takeover.

On September 27, U.S-led international coalition spokesman John Dorian, at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad reported that the number of U.S.-led international coalition members was 8,000, including 4,500 U.S. troops. Dorian claimed that Turkish forces in the Ninewa Province were not part of the U.S.-led international coalition.

On September 27, U.S-led international coalition spokesman, John Dorian, at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad reported that there are 3,000-5,000 ISIS militant in Mosul and that ISIS is suffering from a “financial crisis.” Dorian commented that ISIS was planting IEDs in order to prevent the advancement of security forces in the invasion of Mosul.

On September 27, an anonymous source in the Ninewa Province reported that ISIS kidnapped the merchant of one of Ninewa’s largest food retailers in Mosul when the owner refused to provide food for ISIS militants. ISIS militants reportedly took the merchant to an ISIS tribunal for judgment. The source claimed that ISIS is in “disarray” after losing many of its resources outside Mosul and is trying to impose royalties on residence and traders in the city.

On September 27, an anonymous local source in the Ninewa Province reported that ISIS militants arrested three “veiled women” for “carrying guns” in the al-Dawasah area near Mosul. ISIS have banned the entry of veiled women into security locations because of the increase of attacks on ISIS militants by veiled women.

On September 27, the Salah al-Din Provincial Council reported that five houses were destroyed when when ISIS militants returned to the village of Alaath, 25 kilometers east of Tikrit, and planted five IEDs. Head of the Council Ali Hassan reported that 100 homes have been destroyed by IEDs, 50 families were displaced, and 13 families displaced last night as the “security situation deteriorates” near the village of Alaath. Head of the Salah al-Din Council, Ahmed Karim, claimed that security forces and PMUs would be contacted to ensure that the security situation was remedied.

On September 27, an anonymous source in the Salah al-Din leadership reported that security forces with support from the Iraqi Air Force repelled an attack of ISIS militant in the village of Telol al baj, 95 kilometers north of Tikrit. Security forces claimed that seven VBIEDs were destroyed and 15 ISIS militants were killed during the operation.

On September 27, Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led international coalition, reported that the weapon fired near U.S. personnel at Qayyarah Air Base tested negative for mustard agents, contrary to initial findings. An anonymous U.S. military official said that ISIS has used chemical weapons against civilians and U.S. allies and expects chemical attacks by ISIS in the future.

On September 28, an anonymous local source in the Ninewa Province reported that the body of an ISIS “real estate official” was found with head trauma in a park in Mosul two days after he went missing in the city. The body of the man held the same office in the Diyala province before he fled to Mosul after security forces cleared ISIS militants from the Diyala Province.

On September 28, Diyala Provincial Council Member, Ahmad al-Rubaie reported that the village of Abu Garma, 26 kilometers northeast of Baquba, was threatened by “sleeper cells” of ISIS militants in the outskirts of the city. Rubaie claimed that ISIS militants were erecting enclosures and targeting civilian vehicles which threatened to displace families from the villages at any time. Rubaie blamed the crisis on “a lack of support” from “government agencies.”

On September 28, an anonymous source in the Ninewa Province reported that ISIS imposed a financial charge on marriage contracts in Mosul in order to increase their “financial resources.” ISIS has lost a “bulk” of its financial resources after its oil trade has been diminished by security forces.

On September 28, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, reported that the U.S. will send 600 more troops to Iraq to “assist” ISFs in the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS militants increasing the number of US troops to 5,262 from 4,647. The 600 troops will be based in Qayyarah air base, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, to “train and advise” the ISF and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

On September 28, an anonymous security source reported that two ISIS militants were killed and five wounded when an IED targeting the militants detonated near Hamam al-Alil, 45 kilometers south of Mosul. No further information was given about the event.

On September 28, an anonymous security source in Ninewa Province reported that an ISIS militant with Russian nationality named “Edadat” was found dead in Hamam al-Alil, 45 kilometers south of Mosul. ISIS transferred the body to an unknown location.

On September 29, Diyala Provincial Police Chief, Major General Jassim al-Saadi reported that security forces recovered an IED that was placed below a vehicle owned by an “officer of military intelligence” near Baquba. The VBIED was removed and dismantled without any loss of life. Saadi reported that police were continuing to conduct operations in small and large villages near the border of Salah al-Din “to prevent the existence of any armed groups.”

On September 29, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that ISIS is restricting family members from recovering the bodies of those executed by ISIS in retaliation for increases in clashes between ISIS militants and the civilian population. The anonymous source claimed that ISIS was burying those executed in unmarked graves.

On September 29, an anonymous source in Ninewa Province reported that an ISIS “leader” was shot and killed by a boy a day after the ISIS leader married the boy’s mother. The boy fled to an unknown location.


Baghdad Sees an Uptick in Crime and Violence

On September 22, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that three people were injured when three unidentified armed suspects shot at a shop that sold alcoholic beverages in the Saadoun neighborhood in Central Baghdad. No other information was given about the attack.

On September 22, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces received a tip from a director of a primary school that a grenade was hanging from his doorway near Al Zawra Park in central Baghdad. Police were able to dismantle the grenade without any injuries.

On September 23, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that three people were killed and seven injured when two mortar shells fell in the village of Abu Ghraib, 26 kilometers west of Baghdad. Iraqi security forces began conducting raid and search operations for the rocket launchers.

On September 23, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants were killed and another wounded and arrested when they were seen planting an IED by security forces in the Arab Ejbur neighborhood in south Baghdad. No further information was given.

On September 24, the Iraqi media war cell reported that security forces were able to dismantle an ISIS cell who were planning to conduct attacks on civilians during the month of Muharram. Security forces seized silenced guns and “sticky bombs” that were in the possession of ISIS. No further information was given.

On September 24, a source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two women were killed when an “unidentified gunman” attacked a house with “silenced weapons” in the Shia Shrine area, east Baghdad. No other information was given.

On September 25, the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two women were killed when “unidentified gunmen” shot at their car with “silenced weapons” in the Baghdad Al Jadeeda neighborhood in east Baghdad. After the attack, the gunmen fled the scene.

On September 25, an anonymous source at the Baghdad Operations Command reported that some of the main roads in Baghdad would be closed after security forces received information that ISIS militants were planning to detonate suicide based improvised explosive devices (SBIEDs) in “numerous areas” in Baghdad. The new security precautions created large traffic jams on most the main streets in Baghdad.

On September 25, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two women were killed when three “unidentified armed attackers” stopped a taxi and beat them to death in the Zayouna District in east Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 25, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that four people were killed when an “unidentified assailant” opened fire in a commercial market in the al-Za’franiya district in southeast Baghdad. The assailant killed himself after the attack.

On September 25, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that a woman was killed when she attempted to stop her husband from being abducted in the Taji area of north Baghdad. Gunmen opened fire after those being kidnapped started to resist.

On September 25, Baghdad Operations Command reported that security forces arrested an ISIS leader named Abu al-Harith traveling from Fallujah in the Rashdiya neighborhood in south Baghdad. Al-Harith was caught traveling with “explosive belts and weapons” that were to be used against civilians in Baghdad.

On September 25, an anonymous source at Baghdad Operations Command reported that security forces arrested the leader of “the state of the south” Abu al-Harith during a security operation in the Madain District in south Baghdad. Security forces also seized explosive belts, weapons and explosive materials.

On September 25, an anonymous source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that an Iraqi army officer was shot by a sniper at an Iraqi Army checkpoint in the Arab Ejbur neighborhood in south Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 26, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that an “unidentified gunman” killed a “goldsmith” and stole 233 thousand Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 200) from his car in the Hosseinia neighborhood in east Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 26, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that five people were killed when an “unidentified gunman” attacked a house in east Baghdad. No information was given on the location of the attack.

On September 26, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that three “armed men” were arrested for carrying “false identification” of a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) member, wearing military fatigues, and carrying IEDs in Al Baladiyat in east Baghdad. Security forces transferred the suspects to detention centers for interrogation.

On September 26, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces arrested four people who were suspects in a robbery of an Iraqi bank in west Baghdad. It was reported that 30 million Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 26,000) were stolen in the robbery. The suspects were also in the possession of a “glock pistol” and a “knife.”

September 27, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces found the body of food server who was abducted earlier that day in the al-Ubaidi neighborhood in east Baghdad. The body was found to have gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

On September 26, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces sealed off Abu Nawas Street in Central Baghdad after suspecting a possible VBIED. Security forces have prevented anyone from approaching the car until explosive experts arrive.

On September 27, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that “unidentified gunmen” wearing military uniforms stopped a car owned by Safa Primary School employees and stole 29 million Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 25,000) in the Banking District of east Baghdad. Security forces reported that an investigation was opened to determine the identity of the assailants.

On September 27, the Director General of Health in Baghdad, Karkh Gaspe Ahadjama, reported that his home was attacked by “unknown assailants” with a grenade. Ahadjama claimed that he was attacked because of his efforts to implement a health reform plan in Baghdad.

On September 27, an anonymous security source reported that an assailant was killed and three policemen injured during an armed robbery in the Salam neighborhood in northwest Baghdad. The armed assailant killed himself after a grenade that he threw at security forces exploded near him.

On September 27, police reported that an “unidentified gunman” “killed civilians” and himself in the Ghadeer area in east Baghdad. The motive of the gunman is not yet known. No further information was given in the report.

On September 27, an anonymous security source in Baghdad reported that an “unidentified gunman” kidnapped a merchant in an Ameria market in east Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 27, an anonymous source in Baghdad Operations Command reported that an “unidentified gunman” attacked a pool and park in al-Za’franiya district in southeast Baghdad without any human casualties. The assailant threw a grenade into a swimming pool and placed a grenade in a park. Security forces were able to dismantle the grenade.

On September 27, an anonymous source in the Baghdad Operations Command reported that security forces were able seize five shells in the al-Amana neighborhood in east Baghdad. No other information was given about the incident.

On September 27, an anonymous source in the Iraqi Police reported that security forces killed a would-be suicide bomber that was targeting security forces in the Taji area in north Baghdad. The man was killed before he could detonate his explosive belt.

On September 28, an anonymous source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that two mortar shells were fired from an “unknown location” resulting in the death of three people and nine injured. The perpetrators of the attack are unknown.

On September 28, President Fuad Masum approved the anti-terrorism law that aims to address terrorist operations that target the state, its citizens, and their property. The law also creates a counter-terrorism unit in Iraq to combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms. Masum also approved a law banning Baath political parties, racial and terrorist parties, and the radical Takfiri party. The purpose of the law is to prevent the return of the Baath party under any name and to stop any political party or organization from participating in Iraqi politics that adopts ideas and attitudes inconsistent with the principles of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. Masum added the law works to define and regulate the procedures and sanctions implementing aforementioned prohibitions and to punish violators of the law. Parliament voted on the prohibition of the Baath party on July 30.

On September 28, an anonymous police source reported that two civilians were injured when an “unknown” person threw a “sound bomb” into their home in the Tariq neighborhood in northeast Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 28, the Institute for the Study of War reported that ISF are “overextending due to increases in ISIS attacks and provincial security issues” in Iraq. Baghdad has continuously been the focus of “spectacular” acts of violence even though ISF have “concentrated” in and around Baghdad.

On September 28, Iraqi Police reported that they found two bodies in the Rashid District in south Baghdad. The two people sustained gunshot wounds to the head. Security forces claimed that they will open up an investigation to identify the perpetrators of the crime.

On September 29, an anonymous source in the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that security forces foiled a would-be suicide bomb in the Ur neighborhood of east Baghdad. Security forces were able to kill the attacker before he could detonate his explosive belt.

On September 29, an anonymous source at the Iraqi Interior Ministry reported a civilian was killed when an “armed attacker” shot at him in the al-Shuala area east of Baghdad. No further information was given about the incident.


Joint Security Forces Continue Operations in Anbar Province

On September 23, commander of the PMU factions in Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that joint security forces cleared the al-Dulab area, 27 kilometers northwest of Hit. During the operation, “dozens” of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants were killed. Al-Dulab is an important area for the second stage of clearing Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi.

On September 23, Joint Operations Command reported that joint security forces successfully cleared al-Baghdadi, 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, of ISIS militants. It was reported that ISIS sustained “heavy losses” during the entire operation.

On September 23, Anbar Operations Commander Major General Ismail Mahlawi reported that security forces killed nine ISIS militants in Albu Diab, a neighborhood in north Ramadi. Mahlawi commented that security forces were able to destroy a factory that created improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and an ISIS headquarters during the operation.

On September 23, commander of the PMU factions in the Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that ISIS militants were burning down a “number of ISIS headquarters,” and destroying “vehicles, libraries, files, and binders” in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. Aljughaifi claimed that ISIS militants were preparing to flee to Rawa, 170 kilometers west of Ramadi, and suggested they could not confront security forces in direct combat.

On September 23, Anbar Operations Commander Major General Ismail Mahlawi reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a group of ISIS militants in “Camp Bravo” in Ramadi. During the operations, 12 ISIS militants were killed.

On September 25, commander of the PMU factions in the Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that an ISIS militant named Yassin Almaadida replaced Abu Omar Chechen as “Minister of War” after Chechen was killed in mid-July. Alijughaifi claimed that Almaadida swore allegiance to ISIS “from the moment of its formation” and confirmed that he was formerly an officer in the Iraqi Republican Guard.

On September 25, the District Council of Hit reported that security forces arrested three ISIS militants carrying Syrian nationality during an operation in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. The Council stressed that security forces were continuing to clear Hit and claimed that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes were “decisive” in most ground operations.

On September 25, PMU leader Shakir Obeid al-Dulaimi reported that security forces and U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes killed 16 ISIS militants during operations to clear the villages of Akashat and Steamroller, 40 kilometers northeast of Rutba. Al-Dulaimi claimed that security forces also destroyed five rocket launchers and mortars during the operation.

On September 26, commander of the PMU factions in the Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that intelligence reports confirmed that the U.S-led international coalition transferred ISIS militants and leaders from the region of Abu Dalia to an unknown location north of the Tharthar Lake, 55 kilometers north of Ramadi.

On September 26, an anonymous security source reported that two ISIS militants surrendered to security forces near Hit, 70 kilometers northwest of Ramadi. The two militants were taken to a security detention center for questioning.

On September 26, an anonymous source in the Anbar Province reported that one civilian was killed and six police officers were wounded when ISIS militants attacked security forces in Hit, 70 kilometers northwest of Ramadi. The civilian was killed while traveling past the security checkpoint before the attack.

On September 26, commander of the PMU factions in the Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that battalions of combat tribal police and fighters arrived to help clear the remaining militants from al-Baghdad and Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. Alsamamd reported that combat regiments will work on keeping ISIS militants from returning to liberated areas and help “monitor, control, and secure” security checkpoints, homes, and businesses.

On September 26, Commander of the Anbar Operations Major General Ismail Mahlawi reported that security forces cleared 350 houses of IEDs in the city of Fallujah, 55 kilometers west of Baghdad. Mahlawi also reported that security forces detonated 12 IEDs without any loss of life in “areas in southwest Fallujah.”

On September 26, an anonymous security source reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a “subsidiary” to organize vehicles and a mortar detachment for ISIS in Ramadi. Joint security forces are continuing to clear an island in Ramadi of ISIS militants after seven days of fighting.

On September 27, Commander of the Anbar Operations Major General Ismail Mahlawi reported that U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted four ISIS positions on an island in the north of Ramadi. Mahlawi reported that all ISIS militants hiding in the area were killed in the airstrike.

On September 27, tribal PMU Commander in Hit Sheikh Naim Al-Muhammadi reported that Major General Qassim Al-Muhammadi, ISF Commander of the Hit operation, was not working with tribes to clear out ISIS militants from the Anbar Province. Al-Muhammadi reported that he has 1,200 fighters than can be used to clear Hit.

On September 27, Commander of the Anbar Operations Major General Ismail Mahlawi reported that ISF killed five terrorists in Abu Diab in northwest Ramadi using a Russian rocket system. No further information was given about the incident.

On September 28, Anbar Police Chief Major General Hadi Reseg reported that the police station in Saqlawiyah, 12 kilometers north of Fallujah, reopened after security forces cleared ISIS militants from the area. Reseg claimed that Saqlawia will see a “batch of new displaced” families in the coming days and called for the opening of “security and administrative” services.

On September 28, commander of the PMU factions in the Anbar Province, Nazim Aljughaifi, reported that security forces cleared the two regions of Tullaiha and Elsafakih in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. Aljughaifi claimed that security forces killed 33 ISIS militants during the operation and are preventing ISIS militants from escaping the cleared areas, but claimed that the leaders of ISIS are fleeing without open confrontation with security forces.

On September 28, an anonymous source in Anbar Province reported that security forces arrested two ISIS militants with Syrian citizenship in the Elsafakih region in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. The two ISIS militants were in possession of five grenades and a machine gun when they were caught by security forces.

On September 28, Commander of the PMU factions in Anbar Province, Sheikh Saad Alsamarmd, reported that security forces had begun operations to clear Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi, from ISIS militants. Alsamarmd claimed the U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes would assist security forces by targeting ISIS strongholds and communities in order to “prevent their escape to other areas.”

On September 28, Anbar Operations Commander, Major General Ismail Mahlawi, reported that security forces cleared five areas of ISIS militants in the Albu Diab area in northwest Ramadi. Mahlawi reported that “dozens” of ISIS militants were killed during the operation.

On September 28, ISF Commander in Anbar, Major General Qassim Al-Muhammadi, reported that security forces were able to clear ISIS militants from the al-Dolab area, 73 kilometers northwest of Ramadi. The operation resulted in the death of 30 ISIS militants, destruction of two vehicles, and the dismantling of 213 IEDS.

On September 28 an anonymous military source in the Anbar Province reported that the three villages of Allwardah, Aldankih, and Tahmanih in the al-Dolab area, 73 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, had been cleared of ISIS militants. The operation resulted in the death of a “number of terrorists” and the dismantling of 100 IEDs in the villages.

On September 29, Anbar Operations Commander, Major General Ismail Mahlawi, reported that security forces cleared Albu Diyab of ISIS militants and have gained “full control” over the area. Mahlawi reported that security forces are working to address IEDs planted by ISIS militants in the area.

On September 29, Anbar Operations Commander, Major General Ismail Mahlawi, reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted ISIS militants on a northern island in Ramadi. The operation resulted in the death of four ISIS militants.

On September 29, ISF Commander in Anbar, Major General Qassim Al-Muhammadi, reported that a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a “rally” of ISIS militants in Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. The operation resulted in the death of six ISIS militants.


Reports Shed Light on Conditions within IDP Camps

On September 27, the International Medical Corps (IMC) released a report on conditions within the village of Tinah and the nearby transitional IDP camp in the north of Dohuk Province, 84 kilometers north of Mosul. The reported number of individuals in Tinah is 1,840; 460 are members of the host community, 1,080 are IDPs within the camp, and 300 are IDPs living with relatives among the host community. Tinah is currently under control of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and while civilians’ mobility is unrestricted, they are not allowed to bring commodities such as medicine, food and non-food items into the village from other areas. There is one nurse in Tinah and one clinic, and the most common conditions treated at the clinic are diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Patients requiring a higher level of care must be transferred to Makhmour, around 250 kilometers south (not accounting for road closings and travel routes) in the Erbil Province. A mobile clinic with health staff supported by Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) is scheduled to visit the village of Tinah twice each week. The report also notes severe psychological distress among the population, both observed and self-reported by community members, including developmental disorders in children, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress, though there is no specific information about numbers and type of cases. Food rations are extremely scarce, and there is no fuel to cook with. Household conditions in the camp are extremely poor, as the shelters provide minimal protection from extreme heat or cold and no protection against violence or theft. The ISF, though present for the security of the community, is the cause of great unease among displaced women and girls in the camp who feel at risk of sexual harassment or assault. The extremely high cost of living in the camp, due to the existence of only two stores in the village and a scarcity of goods, also poses a threat of exploitation of displaced women and children, as many are forced to resort to survival sex or child labor in exchange for necessities. While this report concerns the conditions of just one camp in a small village in Northern Iraq, it is very likely that many IDPs throughout Iraq have experienced similar challenges in their experiences as refugees in their own country.

On September 27, the Qatari Red Crescent Society (QRCS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement consolidating their partnership in securing emergency health assistance for the crisis-affected populations in Iraq and reported on humanitarian conditions within the Debaga Camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), where the organizations jointly operate a primary health care clinic. Since its inception in early June, the clinic has served more than 35,000 cases (300-350 cases per day), mostly upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, skin diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. More than 500 patients needing specialized care have been referred to hospitals in Kirkuk and Erbil, many by ambulance. The Debaga Camp’s population has rapidly increased in recent months to exceed 37,000. The camp is extremely overcrowded and has been expanded to include a nearby stadium in order to accommodate the influx of IDPs. As a result of overcrowding and a lack of resources, the health needs of both IDPs and host communities were augmented. Providing adequate shelter and food remains a serious challenge as well.

On September 28, the UNHCR released a report stating that the prevalence of child marriage and survival sex in refugee and IDP camps in Iraq is very high, largely due to the notably poor economic situation of refugees and IDPs and limited potential for livelihoods. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a serious threat in camps as well, as the shelters in the camps provide little protection or privacy, and women and girls are often isolated and very vulnerable. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provided SGBV training for 15 community committees on community based protection methodology for prevention and response to SGBV.

On September 28, the UNHCR released a survey which reached 17,715 IDPs. Of these IDPs, 47% reported that their current accommodation quality was “poor” or “very poor.” 44% of IDPs surveyed intend to remain in their current accommodations, 35% are waiting to make their decision, and 21% intend to return to their area of origin. Of the IDPs intending to return home, only 4% believed that their place of origin was safe to return to, with 96% indicating that they would return anyways because of how poor the living conditions are in their area of displacement.


Returns and Reconstruction Encouraged Despite Limited Resources

On September 23, the High Committee on Shelter and Relief to the Displaced announced that a headquarters for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration will be established in Sharqat as soon as the city is secured. Sharqat was cleared of Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) with the assistance of a U.S.-led international coalition on September 23. The headquarters will be the point of distribution for the first aid convoy to Sharqat, and reconstruction projects in the city are set to begin shortly. The Committee has advised the Ministry of Displacement and Migration to allocate 50,000 liters of kerosene to distribute among residents and an additional 50,000 liters to run water projects in the city. Repairing infrastructure and providing humanitarian assistance to residents over the coming months will be just as crucial in restoring stability and peace to the city as the successful 72 hour offensive.

On September 23, the Governor of the Salah ad-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, directed the delivery of food, medical supplies, and 5,000 thousand liters of kerosene to Sharqat, which was cleared of ISIS militants on September 23.

On September 23, the Director of Water for Salah ad-Din Province announced the return of drinking water to Sharqat. Filtration plants have been reopened and the pumping of potable water has resumed, the first major development in the restoration of basic services to the city after it was cleared of ISIS militants on September 22.

On September 23, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced the return of more than 60 thousand displaced families to homes in the Anbar Province, as reported in Al Sumaria News. 41,455 displaced families have returned to Ramadi, 7,190 to Hit, 4,100 to Garma, 3,215 to Khalidiyah, 1,535 to Rutba, 1,271 to Haditha, 306 to Fallujah, 462 to Nasaf, 385 to the Hossi area, and 183 to Saqlawiyah. The returns were coordinated with ISF, and the Ministry has distributed food and aid to returnees. On September 27, the Governor of the Anbar Province, Suhaib al-Rawi, announced that the number of displaced families returned to the aforementioned cities since September 21 had increased to 62,000, indicating an influx of around 1,900 returning families in four days. Al-Rawi called on authorities to expedite the reconstruction of cleared cities in preparation for the return of all IDPs.

On September 24, the Director of Displacement and Migration in Kirkuk Province, Ammar al-Sabah, announced the return of 250 displaced families from Kirkuk Province to their places of origin in Qayyarah, 30 kilometers north of Sharqat in the Ninewa Province. An alternative report from the Director of the Debaga Camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Ruzkar Obaid, announced the return of more than 3,000 IDPs from Dabaga Camp to the Hadj Ali district of Qayyarah. Debaga Camp is currently severely over capacity, with 36,000 IDPs taking shelter in crowded makeshift tents. On the other hand, the situation in Qayyarah is also dire, with families still fleeing the area over security concerns and lack of services and food.

On September 24, the Salah ad-Din Provincial Council announced the return of 100 displaced families to the village of Sayed Ghraib in the Dujail District of Salah ad-Din Province, 120 kilometers south of the city of Tikrit. The Council stressed that it had been thorough in its investigation of the returnees to ensure the security of the region, and that only those who proved to have no ties to terrorism were allowed to return. Sayed Ghraib was cleared of ISIS militants in January 2015.

On September 25, the Minister of Displacement and Migration, Mohammed Jassim, announced the return of over a million IDPs to areas cleared of ISIS militants since displacements began in 2014. The Minister also stressed the need for the government to provide humanitarian support for the return of displaced families, and pointed out that the financial allocations for the relief of IDPs has not been sufficient to date: the 405 trillion Iraqi Dinars (approximately US$ 350 million) granted to the High Committee on Shelter and Relief to the Displaced in the last fiscal year was less than a third of what was pledged. If the Ministry is to meet its goal of returning more than 1.5 million IDPs this year, it will need more funding.

On September 26, the Director of the Department of Displacement and Migration in Wasit Province, Mohammed Mahmoud, announced the distribution of aid to 1,000 displaced families in the Wasit Province. The aid packages included winter clothing along with food and water. The number of IDPs and new displacements to Wasit Province have decreased as of late in conjuction with the clearing of cities and towns in the Anbar, Diyala, and Salah ad-Din Provinces and the subsequent return of displaced families to their places of origin. Mahmoud stated that about 5,500 displaced families remain in the Province and called on the Ministry of Displacement and Migration to allocate more funds for relief and returns in the Province.

On September 26, the Anbar Provincial Council announced the return of more than 300 families to the Saqlawiyah District northwest of Fallujah since it was cleared of ISIS militants on June 26. The Council also announced the distribution of oil products to returning families by the Ministry of Oil to aid in the resettlement process. Saqlawiyah was cleared of ISIS militants on June 4, but very few IDPs have returned to Saqlawiyah as IEDs left behind by ISIS militants remain a serious security concern.

On September 26, the Governor of Salah ad-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, stated that more than 17,000 homes had been destroyed in the province due to the occupation by ISIS militants. Al-Jabouri called on Parliament and international organizations to intensify efforts to support areas cleared of ISIS militants in the rebuilding process, since the provincial government simply does not have enough resources.

On September 28, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued an update on displacements and returns in Iraq. UNHCR reports that due to the conflict surrounding the clearing of ISIS militants by ISF on September 22, over 200 IDPs fled to Debaga Camp in Erbil Province and 600-900 IDPs were displaced to the transit center in al-Hajaj. The security situation remains precarious in Sharqat in Salah ad-Din Province, with conflict still reported about 30 kilometers southeast of city. Meanwhile, IDP returns to Qayyarah, Haj Ali, and surrounding areas continue despite ongoing shelling and lack of food: since the beginning of September, more than 2,800 IDPs have departed Debaga Camp and returned to Qayyarah, and some 6,800 IDPs returned from the camp to Haji Ali. Supplies are limited in the areas and there have also been sporadic attacks. Ongoing conflict in Hawija is causing new displacement: between September 22 and 25, over 300 IDPs arrived to Debaga Camp from Hawija District in Kirkuk Province. These IDPs fled shelling, lack of food and water, and security threats, and had walked for up to 12 hours in search of safety. Also, 920 IDPs, mainly from Hawija, arrived in Nazrawa Camp during the same period.

On September 28, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reported on the distribution of urgently-needed food to people in and around Sharqat, 80 kilometres south of Mosul. Until it was cleared of ISIS militants on September 22, the town was under siege and cut off from humanitarian aid since 2014. Through its local partner Muslim Aid, WFP distributed a one-month supply of food for families in the Khadhraniya area of Sharqat.

On September 28, the Diyala Provincial Council announced the return of 200 displaced families to their homes in the farming village of Khilanih near the city of Miqdadiyah, 30 kilometers northeast of Baquba in Diyala Province, which was recently cleared of ISIS militants. The IDPs were screened by ISF before they were allowed back into the village. It is not clear whether these IDPs were among those expelled from Kirkuk who had been stranded in the desert outskirts of villages north of Baquba.

On September 28, the Governor of Anbar Province, Suhaib al-Rawi, announced that voluntary returns of IDPs to the city of Fallujah will resume on October 1. Fallujah has ostensibly been cleared of ISIS militants and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and is undergoing restoration efforts, but many IDPs are reluctant to return due to security concerns and a lack of services in the city. The Anbar Provincial Council reported that 800 displaced families have returned to the greater Fallujah region since it was cleared of ISIS militants on June 26 and stressed that rehabilitation projects are underway.

On September 28, the Governor of Salah ad-Din Province, Ahmed al-Jabouri, announced the return of 4,500 displaced families (around 27,000 IDPs) to Sharqat in Salah ad-Din Province since it was cleared of ISIS militants on September 22, as reported in Almada Press.


Maliki Calls for Barzani’s Arrest as Protests Erupt in Kurdistan

On September 25, dozens protested peacefully near the administrative buildings of the Southern Oil Company in Basra, to demand employment opportunities the company promised to the province’s citizens in pledges seven years ago.The protesters also criticized Southern Oil Company for recruiting nationals from other provinces to work for the company despite the 2009 pledges. Southern Oil Company is the largest public sector Iraqi company, employing at least 20,000 individuals distributed among dozens of oil fields and administrative facilities across the country. Basra is not only the oil industry center of Iraq, but also one of the most important oil cities in the world; the city itself produces 59% of Iraq’s oil reserves and includes some of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

On September 29, thousands of teachers and staff peacefully demonstrated in Sulaimaniya to demand the payment of salaries that were due eight months ago. Human rights activist Hooker Stowe said in an interview with Almada Press the event is the “largest of its kind” and that the employees deserve a solution to the economic problems they are facing. The province of Sulaimaniya has seen massive demonstrations by teachers and staff in the past few months demanding overdue salaries as well as improving conditions for citizens. The employees have threatened to make the protests a constant in the city center until authorities respond to their demands. Sources on the ground reported that protesters chanted “Abadi” to show their approval of Baghdad’s government over current government situation in Kurdistan.

On September 29, President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani arrived in Baghdad to meet with a number of Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in a closed door meeting to discuss strategy for the clearing of Mosul of so-called Islamic State militants. However, Barzani’s arrival was immediately met with controversy. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Barzani, a move that members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party immediately responded to calling Maliki’s demand proof of latent hatred towards the Kurdish people. al-Maliki commanded Barzani be arrested as soon as he entered the city for collaborating with foreign governments, smuggling the country’s wealth, and dealing with terrorist regimes. Al-Maliki accuses Barzani of making secret oil deals with Turkey and harboring former Baathist party members in Kurdistan. Member of the Shia Badr political bloc and Member of Parliament, Hunein Qadu demanded Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to break off all oil deals with Barzani while he visits Baghdad and to put the Iraqi national oil company, State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) in charge of the production and export of Iraqi oil. Meanwhile, a deputy from the Kurdistan Alliance, Ahmad Haji Rashid, announced he and other members of the Alliance will be boycotting Barzani’s visit since Barzani “no longer represents the province.” Barzani’s trip comes after the recent dismissal of the Kurdish former Finance Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, a move that increased already high tensions between Baghdad and Erbil.


Key Cabinet Positions Remain Vacant as Parliament Moves to Question More Ministers

On September 23, a member of the Shia political bloc the State of Law Coalition, Foud Alldorki, confirmed that the coalition did not direct its deputies to vote for or against the dismissal of former Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Alldorki said in an interview that accusations of the State of Law Coalition being behind the vote of no confidence were untrue and that the vote was a result of MPs wanting to fight corruption within the government. Zebari was dismissed after losing a vote of confidence in Parliament on September 21.

On September 23, President of the State of Law coalition and Member of Parliament Nouri al-Maliki called for political blocs in Parliament to strengthen their oversight role and purge state institutions of corruption and negligence. Maliki continued saying that Iraq will not go back to being a haven for terrorists and instead the government needs to unite and stand against challenges to the state. Maliki’s comments come after former Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused Maliki of leading a deliberate and politically motivated movement to vote Zebari out of office.

On September 24, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Aram Sheikh Mohammed stressed the need for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to release the official list of candidates nominated to fill the vacant Cabinet positions as soon as possible so Parliament can vote on them. Currently the Defense, Finance, Interior, and Trade and Industry Minister positions are vacant. The Defense and Finance Ministers were voted out of office due to corruption charges in late August while the Interior Minister resigned in July after the Karrada bombing that killed more than 300 Iraqis. The Trade and Industry Minister resigned in July at the request of al-Abadi who had been trying to replace the Cabinet. Mohammed noted that Parliament is fully prepared to vote on the candidates and that leaving the positions open does not serve the public and hurts Iraq’s security ministries which require active management and moral leadership from one person. In response to Mohammed’s plea, Member of Parliament for the Badr bloc, Razak al-Haidari, announced later in the day that al-Abadi will present candidates for the vacant ministry positions in the coming week.

On September 24, elders within the Ninewa tribes called the decision to dismiss Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari an act to protect the corrupt within Iraq’s government. The elders noted Zebari’s successes as minister, especially his ability to retire 80% of the country’s debt under his leadership. Parliament voted Zebari out of office on September 21.

On September 24, Parliament held its regular Saturday session. Agenda items included a discussion on Kurdistan region employee salaries and an investigation into the territory’s financial situation. The Finance and Agriculture Ministries formed a joint committee to address delayed payments to farmers and to figure out a solution as soon as possible. Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri delayed a vote on the division of the Ninewa Province until the following day. The issue was originally brought to the attention of Parliament by a Member of Parliament for the Ninewa region, Abdul Rahman Alloizi, who accused members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of attempting to prevent Arabs from returning to their homes after clearing areas of the province of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants.

On September 26, Parliament voted to keep the borders of the Ninewa Province to its pre-2003 status, therefore rejecting the proposed changes. Parliament noted that since these borders are protected under Iraqi law, any change would violate the Constitution and would be null and void. Iraqi Arabs are in favor of a redrawing of the borders as it would give them a larger swath of territory, but Kurdish Iraqis are in stark contrast wanting to keep the borders as they are to maintain the large amount of territory they control in northeastern Iraq.

On September 26, a Member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Najiba Najib, accused Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of resorting to interrogation operations to block government activity in an attempt to “return to power.”

On September 27, a member of the Shia National Alliance bloc, Kadhim al – Shammari and Member of Parliament, announced that the signatures of 72 Members of Parliament had been collected in order to question the Minister of Electricity, Qassim Fahdawi. Al-Shammari noted the charges come amidst claims of corruption within the ministry. Currently the Defense, Finance, Interior, and Trade and Industry Minister positions are vacant.

On September 27, Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki revealed that 65 Members of Parliament and counting have signed a petition to formally request an interrogation of Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on charges of corruption. This petition follows the announcement made on September 22 that Parliament planned to interrogate the Foreign Minister on October 6. Currently the Defense, Finance, Interior, and Trade and Industry Minister positions are vacant.


DateLocationDeathsInjuries
09/22/16
09/29/16Nairiyah, East Baghdad26
09/29/16Abu Dshir, South Baghdad18
09/28/16Jisr Diyala, Southeast Baghdad 14
09/28/16Gherai’at, North Baghdad18
09/28/16Sulaikh, North Baghdad16
09/28/16Al Shuala, Northwest of Baghdad27
09/28/16Hurriya, Northwest of Baghdad24
09/27/16Sha’ab, Northeast Baghdad29
09/27/16Madain, South Baghdad26
09/27/16Tobji, Northwest Baghdad03
09/27/16Abu Dshir, South Baghdad18
09/27/16Baghdad Al Jadeeda, East Baghdad926
09/27/16Bayaa, Southwest Baghdad25
09/27/16Bayaa, Southwest Baghdad1133
09/19/16Tobji, Northwest Baghdad00
09/26/16Shaikh Omar Street, Northeast Baghdad25
09/26/16Ameria, West Baghdad18
09/25/16Tarmiyah, North Baghdad14
09/25/16Bour, North of Baghdad 29
09/25/16Mansour, West Baghdad15
09/25/16Mansour, West Baghdad618
09/25/16Al-Furat, West Baghdad27
09/24/16Control Bracket, North of Tikrit24
09/24/16Control Bracket, North of Tikrit34
09/24/16Control Bracket, North of Tikrit25
09/24/16Control Bracket, North of Tikrit25
09/24/16Control Bracket, North of Tikrit25
09/24/16Al-Wahda, South Baghdad 18
09/24/16Baghdad Al Jadeeda, East Baghdad10
09/24/16Yusufiya, South of Baghdad 14
09/24/16Hamamiyat, North of Baghdad29
09/23/16Jisr Diyala, South Baghdad29
09/23/16Albu-Issa, Northeast of Baghdad10
09/23/16Nahrawan, Southeast Baghdad28
09/23/16Al Baladiyat, East Baghdad10
09/22/16Mahdia, South of Baghdad17

 

Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.


Derived from firsthand accounts and Iraq-based Arabic and Kurdish news sources, the Iraq Security and Humanitarian Monitor is a free publication of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center. ISHM’s research methodology was developed by EPIC’s Senior Visiting Fellow Ahmed Ali.


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