ISHM: October 21 – 27, 2016

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Security Forces and Allies Continue the Difficult Approach Toward Mosul – Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, assisted by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes, continued efforts to clear areas surrounding the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. Peshmerga fighters and the elite Iraqi Counterterrorism Service are holding positions within a few kilometers of Mosul to the north, east, and southeast, as the ISF approach slowly from the south where the fighting is more intense. ISIS militants within Mosul, facing increasing resistance from Moslawi civilians, have resorted to taking people from surrounding villages to be used as human shields and on October 21, executed 284 men and boys. As ISIS militants retreat toward Mosul from the surrounding neighborhoods, they are using vehicle-based IEDs, laying roadside bombs, and destroying as much infrastructure as possible to slow approaching security forces. On October 22, militants set fire to the al-Mishraq chemical plant and 19 oil wells, 47 kilometers south of Mosul, sending plumes of toxic chemicals and black smoke into the air. More than 1000 area residents sought medical assistance as a result of the incidents and troops located at the nearby Qayyarah airbase are wearing masks as a precaution. As forces approach Mosul, where an estimated 5,000 ISIS militants are located, fighting is expected to intensify. General Joseph Votel of U.S. Central Command reported that so far, 800 to 900 ISIS militants have been killed during operations that began on October 17. Votel also announced that the Qayyarah airbase, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, now has capacity to land some of the largest American aircraft, which will dramatically increase air support to security forces. On October 20, an IED killed U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan who was assisting the ISF with IED detection and removal. Finman is the first American service member killed in Iraq during operations in Mosul. more…
  • Shortfalls Persist in the Humanitarian Response to Mosul Operations – According to the International Organization for Migration, 10,548 people have been displaced from areas surrounding Mosul since military operations to clear the city of ISIS militants began on October 17. The UNHCR is expecting this number to stretch in to the hundreds of thousands as Iraqi Security Forces and their allies approach the city and establish emergency evacuation routes. The UN, Iraqi government, and aid agencies are planning for a mass exodus from the city and will soon have a combined capacity for 400,000 IDPs. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that funding for the humanitarian response to Mosul is significantly short; only 54% of the requested US$ 284 million has been received for the effort. more…
  • ISIS Militants Unexpectedly Attack Kirkuk, Raising Concerns of Forced Displacements – On October 21, ISIS suicide bombers and other militants attacked neighborhoods in southern and central Kirkuk City, killing at least 35 civilians and injuring more than 120. ISIS militants also attacked a power plant under construction in Dibs, 36 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk, killing 16 employees, including four Iranians. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, popular militias, and counter-terrorism forces from neighboring Salah ad-Din Province spent the next three days targeting ISIS militants in Kirkuk. Also on October 21, an alleged U.S.-led international coalition airstrike reportedly killed 10 women during a funeral procession in Daquq, south of Kirkuk. U.S. Envoy for the Coalition to Counter ISIS, Ambassador Brett McGurk, denied that the international coalition had carried out any bombing operations in Kirkuk and acknowledged an investigation. Since the October 21 attack on Kirkuk City, the UN has expressed concern that Kurdish authorities there have forced 250 Sunni Arab families to enter IDP camps, claims that the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, has denied. more…
  • ISIS Militants Also Attack Rutba in Western Anbar, Prompting Heightened Security – On October 23, ISIS suicide bombers and other militants launched an attack on the city of Rutba in far western Anbar Province. Later that day, President of the Anbar Provincial Council Sabah Karhut, reported that the security situation there was “very serious and in urgent need of attention.” Joint security forces were able to regain “full control” of the city from ISIS on October 25, although members of the Iraqi Army, popular militias, and local police are continuing to comb through buildings searching for hiding militants and IEDs. Reportedly, security forces and police in other cities in Anbar Province, including Hit, Ramadi, and Fallujah, and in Diyala Province, are increasing vigilance and security checks in anticipation of emerging ISIS “sleeper cells.” more…
  • Iraq Refuses Deal on Turkish Troop Presence in Iraq – U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met separately with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad in an attempt to broker a deal on Turkish troop participation in the ongoing military operation to clear ISIS militants from the city of Mosul, to no avail. Al-Abadi continued to reject any Turkish troop presence in Iraq, saying that combat efforts in Mosul will be conducted by Iraqis only, and Erdogan continued to insist on a role in the operations for Turkey. Tensions between Turkey and Iraq have been especially high since October 1, when the Turkish Parliament voted to extend the presence of their troops in northern Iraq. more…
  • Oil Ministry May Not Meet OPEC Expectations Citing Financial, Security Situation – In a meeting with OPEC, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi asked that the country be exempt from a recent tentative agreement among OPEC member countries to cut oil production in order to strengthen prices, citing Iraq’s precarious economic and security situation. The agreement to cut production may be jeopardized altogether if Iraq does not participate in limiting market supply. The price of oil fell below $50 per barrel following the announcement, amid investor concern that OPEC would not be able to reach its deal with members to cut oil production. more…

Iraqi Security Forces and Allies Continue the Difficult Approach Toward Mosul

On October 20, U.S. Central Command reported that U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan was killed when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded while U.S. forces accompanied Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service (ICS) northeast of Mosul. Finan was assigned to a U.S. SEAL team as part of the Navy’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit and was assisting Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) with IED detection and removal. Finan, age 34, is the first U.S. soldier killed in Iraq since the beginning of Mosul operations.

On October 21, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reported grave violations by ISIS militants against civilians during the conflict in Mosul. The UNHCR called on the Iraqi government and associated forces to make protection of civilians a priority in military planning, amid reports of ISIS using civilians as human shields. The UNHCR has verified information regarding several incidents since military operations began on October 17 in which ISIS has forced people to leave their homes in outlying villages to head to Mosul; 550 families were taken for use as human shields as of October 21. The UNHCR is also examining reports that ISIS militants have executed at least 40 civilians who have tried to rise up against them or who they suspect of being disloyal to the so-called Islamic State.

On October 21, an anonymous source reported that federal forces and the Iraqi Army Rapid Reaction Brigade engaged ISIS militants within the village of al-Hadidi near the al-Shura area, 40 kilometers south of Mosul. The report claimed ISIS was using vehicle-based IEDs and IEDs on roads to hinder security forces closing in on Mosul.

On October 21, the Joint Special Operations Command reported that over 400 ISIS militants have been killed since operations began to clear ISIS militants from Mosul on October 17. Joint Operations Command indicated that security forces are making “remarkable” progress on multiple fronts against ISIS.

On October 21, a reporter accompanying security forces in Ninewa Province reported that Federal Police cleared ISIS militants from the village of Nanaah, 40 kilometers southeast of Mosul. During the operation, 15 ISIS militants were killed and security forces destroyed numerous IEDs and four VBIEDs. Security forces also recovered over a ton of ammonium nitrate (used to manufacture IEDs) and received 67 displaced civilians.

On October 21, Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi of the ICS reported that the Bartella village, 15 kilometers north of Mosul, was fully cleared of ISIS militants and internally displaced people (IDP) were returning unharmed. A later report on October 22 claimed that security forces repelled a suicide vest attack without any casualties in Bartella. Security forces also destroyed three motorcycles driven by ISIS militants. The ICS continued to clear ISIS militants from areas east of Mosul in the villages of Tahrawah, Muwafaqiya, Tarab Zawh, Khazna Tepe, and Khazna near Bartella; a military camp at Mu’askar Janin, 13 kilometers east of Mosul; and the al-Awwal village, 4 kilometers from Mosul.  

On October 21, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that senior leadership in ISIS declared that militants should not participate in Friday prayers and instead support the front lines against joint security forces. ISIS has seen a shortage of militants after security forces have gained ground in operations to clear ISIS militants from Mosul.

On October 21, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that ISIS banned militants from taking photos in order to hide militant movements from security forces.

On October 21, CNN reported that ISIS executed 284 men and boys as coalition forces closed in on Mosul. Those killed on October 20 and 21 were rounded up in villages near Mosul for use as human shields. ISIS reportedly used a bulldozer to dump corpses in a mass grave near the scene of the executions in the north of the city. No further details about ISIS’s motivation for the executions was given in the report, but they could have been carried out to terrorize and intimidate others into submission or to prevent the men and boys from joining the rising resistance movement against ISIS.  

On October 22, Rudaw News reported that ISIS militants set fire to al-Mishraq sulfur plants, 47 kilometers south of Mosul, sending plumes of chemicals in the area. Ahmed Younis, a medical assistant in Qayyarah, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, reported that two civilians died from exposure to sulfur dioxide and over 1000 sought medical assistance as a result of the incident. Anonymous civilians in Qayyarah reported that security forces set roadblocks and are not allowing civilians to leave due to concerns that civilians are possible ISIS sympathizers.  An anonymous U.S. military source claimed that U.S. troops located at Qayyarah Airbase to the west of Qayyarah city are wearing gas masks “at their own discretion.” Chemical experts and firefighters have been detached to contain the fire. Security forces cleared ISIS militants from the area on October 21, but ISIS are destroying everything that they can during their retreat in order to hinder security forces.

On October 22, al-Harbi News reported that the Iraqi Ninth Armored Division stormed the Hamdaniya District, 30 kilometers southeast of Mosul. Al-Harbi claimed that security forces are continuing to clear ISIS militants and IEDs from Hamdaniya. Security forces reported stiff resistance during the early phases of the operation. A later report claimed that security forces cleared all ISIS militants from the district.

On October 22, Member of Parliament Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Jabouri reported that a PMU militia cleared villages of ISIS militants in the Shura area, 60 kilometers south of Mosul. Jabouri claimed that security forces clashed with ISIS militants who were reportedly laying IEDs in the area. An anonymous military source later claimed that security forces managed to clear ISIS militants from villages south of Mosul called Khuynh, Zafh, Tall as Samn, Abu Vhkh, and Khuyn on October 23; and al-Sulhufa  Khuyn, Hui, Nzalh, al-Maharir on October 24. The villages are of strategic importance due to their location along the Tigris River.  

On October 22, a local source in Ninewa Province reported the emergence of a new tactic being used by resistance movements in Mosul against ISIS militants. Resistance fighters are painting a “red X” on the homes of ISIS militants to signify them as a target. ISIS has seen a rise in popular resistance against them as security forces continue to make headway on operations to clear ISIS from Mosul.

On October 22, Commander of Baghdad Operations Major General Jalil al-Rubaie reported that ISIS increased attacks on Baghdad to attract attention away from joint security force operations in Mosul. Rubaie claimed that that the Ministries of Interior and Defense will dismantle ISIS cells in the area and reported the need to continue training and supply of equipment to fight ISIS sleeper cells in Baghdad.

On October 22, a security source reported that 250 families held hostage by ISIS militants for use as human shields were freed by Federal Police from five villages in the Shura district, 40 kilometers south of Mosul.

On October 22, PUK media reported that that ISF entered the center of Tall Afar, 66 kilometers west of Mosul, after security forces in coordination with Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces were successful in surrounded the city. The report claimed that joint security forces killed “numerous” ISIS militants during the operation.

On October 23, an anonymous security news source reported that 10 ISIS militants were killed when a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a gathering of militants in the an area near Shura, 80 kilometers south of Mosul. No further information was given about the airstrike.  

On October 23, Head of the Parliamentary Commission on Security and Defense Hakim Zamili reported that security forces circled the village of Tall Kayf, 16 kilometers north of the center of Mosul. Zamili claimed the next step of the operation is to enter into the Arab neighborhood in northern Mosul.

On October 24, an anonymous military source reported that the Iraqi army and Federal Police were able to clear ISIS militants from the the village of Khafsan and a thermal power site, 33 kilometers south of Mosul. The source reported that security forces were moving towards the village of Munirah, 30 kilometers south of Mosul.

On October 24, an anonymous military source reported that security forces stormed the Karemlash area, 20 kilometers southeast of Mosul. The source reported that the village should be cleared of ISIS militants within the next few hours. No further information was given about the operation’s status.  

On October 24, Federal Police Captain Raed Shakir Jawdat reported that security forces cleared ISIS militants from 62 out of 80 villages west of the Tigris River and east and west of the Baghdad-Mosul Road. Jawdat also reported that the Iraqi Air Force and the U.S.-led international coalition assisted security forces in clearing ISIS militants from locations adjacent to 56 oil wells.

On October 24, Intelligence Squad Officer Colonel Haitham Ghazi reported that security forces cleared ISIS militants from 35 square kilometers surrounding Qayyarah Airbase and are less than 10 kilometers from Hamam al-Alil, 30 kilometers southeast of Mosul. Ghazi reported that security forces managed to clear ISIS militants of 25 villages and freed dozens of families that were being used as human shield by ISIS.

On October 24, an anonymous security source reported that 15 ISIS militants were killed when Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces were successful in repelling an ISIS attack in eastern Sinjar, 115 kilometers west of Mosul. During the operation, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces also destroyed nine car bombs without sustaining any casualties.

On October 24, a local source in Ninewa Province reported to Al Sumaria News that ISIS militants forcibly expelled 40 patients from a hospital in Mosul in order to make room for ISIS militants wounded in clashes with the ISF and coalition forces. Among those expelled were several elderly patients.

On October 25, an anonymous local source reported that Peshmerga forces cleared ISIS militants from the village Khorsabad in the Noran area, 18 kilometers north of Mosul. The source reported that Iraqi engineering teams are clearing the area of IEDs.

On October 26, Reuters News reported that security forces backed by the U.S.-led international coalition made steady gains through mainly unpopulated villages in the first 10 days of the Mosul operations but warned that as troops advance towards villages such as Tub Zawa, a village near the east entrance of Mosul, fighting could become more “difficult and deadly.” Reuters News claim that Iraq’s counterterrorism services are mostly spearheading the Mosul offensive and are within a few kilometers with only the village of Bazwaia and military camps separating them from the eastern city limits. The counterterrorism service reported that they paused their advance to allow security forces in the northeast and south to approach the city.

On October 26, Reuters News reported that the U.S. dropped 1,700 munitions on targets in Mosul from the Qayyarah Airbase, 70 kilometers south of Mosul. While the U.S. is not fighting with security forces on the frontlines, they are firing GPS-guided rockets from Qayyarah.

On October 26, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command reported that PMU militias will begin to assist the ISF in the operation to clear ISIS from Mosul, but did not identify whether PMUs would assist ISF in the city of Mosul itself. Joint Operations Command also claimed that the Iraqi Air Force is conducting reconnaissance and intelligence operations in the air and will destroy any ISIS convoy that tries to flee Mosul. An earlier statement by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on October 22 stressed that only ISFs will enter the city of Mosul.

On October 26, an anonymous military news source reported that ISF cleared ISIS militants from the village Saff at Tuth, 35 kilometers south of Mosul. No further information was given about the operation.

On October 26, an anonymous security source reported that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces regained control of the besieged Dirk village in the Ba’ashiqah area, 15 kilometers northeast of Mosul. The source claimed that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces freed 95 people from the village.

On October 26, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that the popular resistance movement in Mosul and ISIS militants clashed after two resistance fighters killed an ISIS militant on patrol in the area. The fate of the resistance fighters are unknown.

On October 26, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a briefing note on human rights violations committed by ISIS. According to reports received by OHCHR, on October 22, ISIS militants shot three women and three female children and wounded four more children from the village of Rufeila in Qayyarah sub-district, south of Mosul, who were part of larger group of villagers forced to relocate by ISIS. The victims were allegedly shot because they were lagging behind the group because one of the children had a disability. She was apparently among those shot and killed. On October 23, ISIS militants reportedly killed 50 former Iraqi Police Officers they had been holding in a building outside Mosul City.

On October 26, Iraqi officials confirmed that in the days prior, ISIS militants executed dozens of prisoners previously taken from villages cleared by ISF and coalition forces. Most of those executed were former Iraqi police and army soldiers. The militants forced them to leave their homes with their families, and took them to the town of Hammam al-Alil, 15 kilometers south of Mosul, where the executions took place. Hoshiyar Zebari, the ousted Kurdish Finance Minister, stated that at least 65 people were executed by ISIS militants south of Mosul on October 23. It is unclear whether this number includes the 50 former Iraqi police officers killed by ISIS outside Mosul on October 23.

On October 27,  Federal Police Captain Raed Shakir Jawdat reported that security forces cleared ISIS militants from the villages of Hamza and another near Shura, 40 kilometers south of Mosul. Security forces in the south continue to push towards Mosul as the ICS pause just a few kilometers from Mosul in the east.

On October 27, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that ISIS militants were taking citizen’s passports in Mosul for unknown reasons. The source speculated that ISIS was using the passports in order to smuggle ISIS leaders and militants out of the city. The source could not verify those claims.

On October 27, an anonymous source in Ninewa confirmed that the popular resistance movement in Mosul conducted a raid on an ISIS headquarters in the western part of the city. The ISIS headquarters was abandoned by ISIS before military operations to clear ISIS from Mosul began, but the headquarters is considered a “symbolic existence of the organization [ISIS].”

On October 27, Independence News reported that a local source in Ninewa claimed that ISIS militants in Mosul are trimming their beards and changing their clothes in order to escape Mosul for Syria. Iraqi officials confirmed that ISIS militants moved resources to the western side of Mosul in preparation for a possible escape route.

On October 27, commander of U.S. Central Command General Joseph Votel reported that between 800 to 900 ISIS militants have been killed during operations to clear ISIS from Mosul. PUK media claimed there were up to 5,000 ISIS members in Mosul before Mosul operations began on October 17. Votel also announced that Qayyarah Airfield, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, is now able to land large American and Iraqi fixed-wing aircraft. The first American fixed-wing aircraft to test the field landed in Qayyarah (referred to as “Q-West”) on October 23, and the third plane to arrive carried Votel himself on the 25. Votel stated that this development would dramatically increase the ability to resupply ISF and coalition forces.


Shortfalls Persist in the Humanitarian Response to Mosul Operations

On October 20, the UN High Office for the Coordination Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on funding for humanitarian response in Iraq. As of October 20, the Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan for 2016 was 58% funded: US$ 505 million of the US$ 861 million requested has been received. The Mosul Flash Appeal is 54% funded, with US$ 155 million received of the US$ 284 million requested. The total funding requested by both UN appeals is US$ 1.1 billion of which US$ 660 million has been received. Funding to both appeals includes US$ 89.2 million from the Iraqi Humanitarian Pooled Fund. The funding gap in hindering the UN from meeting shelter, medicine, food, water, hygiene, and other basic needs of those affected by conflict in Iraq. In the fiscal year 2014-2016, the U.S. contributed a total of US$ 1,117,247,534 to humanitarian funding in Iraq. Also, on July 20, 2016, the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, and Kuwait co-hosted a Pledging Conference in Washington, D.C. in support of Iraq’s security and humanitarian crisis. The host nations and 24 others attending the conference raised US$ 2.1 billion, surpassing the U.S. State Department’s original US$ 2 billion goal. Funds were allocated to humanitarian response, reconstruction, and clearing IEDs and other explosive remnants of war.

On October 20, OCHA reported that 5,640 people were displaced within Iraq in the first three days following the commencement of operations to clear Mosul of Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is expected to rise as military operations move closer to urban areas. The majority of those displaced were from Hamam al-Alil, Shura and Qayyarah to Houd and other parts of Qayyarah in the southeast of Mosul District. The second movement of 240 people took place from Gwer to Debaga Camp in Erbil Province. In addition, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) reported that over 900 refugees crossed from Baaj in Ninewa Province into Syria and reached the IDP camp at Hol in Hassakeh prior to the commencement of military operations. Those displaced face serious risks as they seek safety; OCHA reported roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) lining major roads to the north of Qayyarah. Also, in rural areas southeast of Mosul, 19 oil wells have been set ablaze by retreating ISIS militants, specifically around the town of Qayyarah.

On October 23, OCHA reported that as of October 22, over 5,000 people were displaced in and around Mosul, and that population movements are fluctuating as the front lines of the military operations move, including people returning to their homes following improved security conditions in the immediate area. OCHA also reported that toxic smoke from a sulfur factory close to Qayyarah which was set on fire by ISIS militants has caused between 600 and 800 people to seek medical assistance. OCHA reports that as of October 22, there were 10,044 existing spaces secured for 6-person tents across 7 camps (capacity for 60,264 IDPs), and 69,750 spaces for 418,500 people are under construction or in planning. As a point of clarification, this number does not reflect the number of tents available. In addition to camps, Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) partners have prepositioned 200,000 emergency aid packages including food, water, and non-food items for 1.2 million people in key locations.

On October 23, UNHCR reported the first displaced families north of Mosul since the beginning of the offensive: on October 21, 151 people, mostly women and children, fled from Derik and Chanchi villages which are still under ISIS’s control. They were transported by Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga to Nargizlia screening center, in Shikhan District, 43 kilometers northeast of Mosul, where they underwent security screening. They were then escorted to UNHCR’s newly-built Zelikan Camp the same day. UNHCR also reported that some 550 displaced families have reportedly returned to the recently retaken town of Houd and other villages near Qayyarah. However, the security situation in areas recently cleared of ISIS militants remains unstable. UNHCR also reported the arrangement of an urgent airlift this week of 7,000 tents to Iraq for the Mosul response: this will bring the UNHCR stockpile to around 30,000 tents by October 28. UNHCR plans to have 50,000 tents and 50,000 emergency shelter kits in place as part of its overall response.

On October 24, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that they treated over 1,000 cases of suffocation caused by continued sulfur pollution resulting from the burning of al-Mishraq Sulfur Factory north of Qayyarah District. The cases were received in Primary Health Care Centers (PHCCs) supported by WHO in Ijhala and Qayyarah.

On October 24, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched an Emergency Tracking Portal to track displacements caused by the military offensive to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. As of October 24, the IOM recorded 7,428 IDPs displaced since operations began on October 17. Of these, 240 IDPs were displaced within Erbil Province and 7,188 were displaced within Ninewa Province.

On October 25, the Media Advisor to the President of the Ninewa Provincial Council, Abdelkarim al-Kilani, reported the displacement of 400 people from the village of Bazwaia, 10 kilometers east of Mosul, to Khazar Camp, 37 kilometers east of Mosul. Al-Kilani noted that security agencies established evacuation routes for the displacement of civilians to safer areas until the security situation improves.

On October 25, UNHCR reported that 248 residents from villages near Mosul have reached Zelikan Camp, built and run by UNHCR, since military operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants began on October 17.

On October 25, the IOM’s Emergency Tracking Portal for Mosul recorded 8,940 IDPs currently displaced since operations began on October 17. This is an increase of 1,428 from the 7,428 IDPs recorded the day before, on October 24. The number does not include those who were displaced but have subsequently returned. As of October 25, 36% of total IDPs were displaced within Mosul district, 24% in Tilkaif District in Ninewa Province, 23% in Hamdiniya District in Ninewa Province, 13% in Fallujah District in Anbar Province, and 3% in Makhmour District in Erbil Province. 662 displaced families are sheltered in private settings such as the house of a relative, 425 are in critical shelter arrangements, 334 are in formal camps, 49 are being held at screening sites, and 20 are in unknown shelter arrangements.

On October 25, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that they provided over 1,000 reproductive health consultations to IDPs since the start of military operations in Mosul on October 17. UNFPA also reported that six IDP women have delivered babies in the UNFPA supported Primary Health Centre in Qayyarah since the start of Mosul operations. The UNFPA supported maternity ward is the only child-birth facility in Qayyarah. IDPs are often cut off from health care, which for pregnant women can become a life-or-death scenario. The WHO estimates that 4,000 pregnant women affected by operations in Mosul will require emergency obstetric and newborn health services.

On October 25, UNHCR reported that since the October 17 launch of the Mosul offensive, a total of 1,788 families (some 10,728 individuals) have been displaced. Out of them, 550

families (some 3,300 individuals) have returned to their villages near Qayyarah and 7,428 persons are still currently displaced. According to UNHCR, the vast majority of newly displaced families are reportedly hosted by relatives in villages nearby and hope to return to their places of origin shortly.

On October 25, UNHCR reported that 27 Iraqis had arrived at Hol Camp in Hassakeh, Syria since the beginning of the Mosul offensive on October 17. 912 Iraqis arrived at Hol Camp the week prior to the offensive’s start. Reportedly, there is also a group of 200 IDPs at Rajm Sleby, on the Syrian side of the border, undergoing screening by security forces as authorities are worried about the possibility of ISIS militants hiding among the refugees. Once screened, they will be taken to Hol.

On October 26, UNHCR reported that they began airlifting 7,200 tents to Erbil from emergency warehouses in Dubai and Amman to assist IDPs displaced as a result of the Mosul offensive. UNHCR is securing a total of 50,000 tents and 50,000 emergency shelter kits for overall contribution to the humanitarian response for Mosul. With full funding, UNHCR will be able to provide a range of shelter options inside and outside camps for up to 600,000 people. However, UNHCR has only received 48% (US$ 95 million) of the US$ 196.2 million required for its Mosul emergency response.

On October 26, IOM’s Emergency Tracking Portal for Mosul recorded 10,548 IDPs currently displaced since operations began on October 17. This is an increase of 1,608 IDPs in one day: 8,940 IDPs were recorded on October 25.

On October 26, the Department of Displacement and Migration reported its latest statistics on displacements from Mosul. According to their data, 9,795 people were displaced since military operations to clear Mosul began on October 17. Many of these IDPs are distributed among IDP camps near Mosul, including Jedaa Camp in the Qayyarah District of Ninewa Province, 62 kilometers south of Mosul, Debaga Camp in the Makhmour District of Erbil Province, 75 kilometers southeast of Mosul, Khazar Camp in Ninewa Province, 37 kilometers east of Mosul, and Zelikan Camp in the Shikhan District of Ninewa Province, 43 kilometers northeast of Mosul.

On October 26, the Media Advisor to the President of the Ninewa Provincial Council, Abdelkarim al-Kilani, reported the displacement of 300 people from the village of Bazwaia, 10 kilometers east of Mosul, to Khazar Camp, 37 kilometers east of Mosul, using evacuation routes established by security forces. This group of IDPs is in addition to the 400 al-Kilani reported to be displaced from Bazwaia to Khazar Camp on October 25.


ISIS Militants Unexpectedly Attack Kirkuk, Raising Concerns of Forced Displacements

On October 21, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) security authorities are restricting the freedom of movement of displaced people in camps in Kirkuk Province. Displaced people in the Nazrawa and Laylan Camps told HRW that they could only leave the camps after obtaining a sponsor, that security forces are taking their identity cards before they can leave the camp, and that they must return the same day. The restrictions have limited residents’ access to medical care, work, and relatives. International aid workers told HRW that authorities in Kirkuk say the restrictions are necessary for security reasons. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which operates the camps, has previously asked authorities to remove the restrictions on internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kirkuk.

On October 21, Mayor of the city of Dibs Abdullah Nur al-Din reported that three suicide attackers stormed a power plant under construction in the Dibs area, 36 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk, killing 16 employees, technicians, and engineers, including four Iranians. Two police officers were injured in the attack after clashes killed one of the would-be suicide bombers before they detonated their suicide vest. A BBC report on the attack claimed that five Iranians were killed and seven employees and five police guards were wounded. A later security source reported that security forces would implement a curfew for six o’clock that evening until further notice due to the “security related events.”

On October 21, an anonymous security source in the Kirkuk Province reported that ISIS militants attacked the areas of Wahid Haziran, Aden, and Domiz, in southern Kirkuk city, as well as the Kirkuk city center in an effort to derail efforts by security forces to clear ISIS militants from Mosul. ISIS militants are barricaded in houses, shops, and mosques in these areas . Preliminary reports suggest that 16 civilians were killed in the ISIS attacks. District Police Chief Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir reported that suicide bombers and other militants attacked three police building surrounding the headquarters of the National Union Party in Kirkuk, but all ISIS militants were killed in the attack. The source claimed that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have prevented ISIS militants from escaping Kirkuk after the attack and noted that the people of Kirkuk came out in support of security forces.

October 21, Governor of Kirkuk Province, Najmaddin Karim, reported that security forces have gained control over the ISIS attack in Kirkuk and stressed ISIS sleeper cells were to blame. Karim claimed that militants were unable to enter any security or government buildings during the attack. Security forces will implement a curfew for those living within the city center.

On October 21, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk Province reported that clashes between security forces and ISIS militants were continuing near government buildings, a popular hotel, and a bridge in the center of Kirkuk. Clashes also continued in the Domiz District and at a mosque in Wahid Haziran in southern Kirkuk city. The source claimed that the U.S.-led international coalition was participating in the conflict with “intense overflights” for reconnesance above the city.

On October 21, an anonymous security source reported that security forces released 20 civilians detained by ISIS militants in the two areas of Mansiyah and Wahid Haziran in southern Kirkuk city. The raid resulted in the death of three ISIS militants without any civilian casualties.

On October 21, leader of a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) Maitham al-Zaidi reported in a statement to Alsumaria News that ISIS’s attack on Kirkuk was a “desperate and failed attack” to deflect attention from ISIS militants in Mosul. Zaidi claimed that the PMU was able to repel ISIS militants from attacking their headquarters in F 25 kilometers from Kirkuk.

On October 21, an anonymous security source reported that anti-terrorism forces were brought from Salah al-Din to support security forces in Kirkuk after ISIS militants attacked the city that morning. No information was given on the number of reinforcements or how long they would be in Kirkuk.

On October 21, local officials and medics reported to Al Monitor News that 15 women were killed and another 50 injured in what was assumed to be an airstrike that hit the women’s side of a Shia mosque in the Daquq District of Kirkuk Province, south of Kirkuk City.

On October 22, Member of Parliament from Kirkuk Hassan Turan reported that Iraqi intelligence told the Governor of Kirkuk that there was a plan to target the Kirkuk Province prior to the attack on October 21. Turan stated that the governor received a written letter from Iraqi intelligence on October 6 detailing the plans for the attack and noting the presence of so-called Islamic State militants in the area. This claim of Iraqi officials having knowledge of the attack prior to October 22 clashes with reports from the region that believe the attack originated from an airstrike, which implies a member of the international coalition (the only forces capable of airstrikes in the region) coordinated the attack and not Iraqi forces. The airstrike on October 21 hit the women’s side of a mosque in the province, killing at least 13 women and children.

On October 22, Head of the Whelan District in Kirkuk, Mohammed Lewis, reported that security forces killed nine ISIS militants after they attempted to attack security forces in the village of Zendane Köyü, 15 kilometers south of the center of Kirkuk. A later source on October 27 reported that security forces killed five ISIS militants in the village of Jarmjah in the Whelan area, 20 kilometers east of Kirkuk.

On October 22, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk Province reported that joint security forces arrested Libyan ISIS leader Abu Islam and one other militant in the Wahid Haziran neighborhood who entered the city of Kirkuk on October 21 and attacked security forces. The arrest was made after four gunmen detonated explosive belts after security forces surrounded a house they were hiding in. The sources claimed no security forces were injured or killed during the arrest.

On October 22, medical and security sources reported that 35 people were killed and 120 injured during the ISIS attack in Kirkuk on October 21. A later report claimed that a detained ISIS leader admitted to organizing over 100 suicide attacks against the city of Kirkuk on October 21 and claimed that there were plans to attack the city again with 300 suicide bombs.  

On October 22, a PMU spokesperson reported that the milita entered the center of Kirkuk near Siirt and are conducting foot patrols in anticipation of clashes between security forces and ISIS militants in the Domiz and Wasti neighborhoods. The PMU assured citizens that they will protect them from ISIS militants throughout the city.

On October 23, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk reported that joint security forces surrounded a would-be suicide attacker in central Kirkuk. ISF with Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces were also able to arrest another ISIS militant hiding in a water tank in the Chazi Mall near a government building in the center of Kirkuk. Joint security forces are conducting search and raid operations in the city to fully clear Kirkuk of ISIS militants.

On October 23, an anonymous security source in the Kirkuk Province reported that security forces were able to kill five would-be suicide bombers and forced one to detonate his explosive belt in the south and center of Kirkuk.

On October 23, an anonymous source in the KRG reported that security forces were able to arrest eight ISIS leaders in Kirkuk. The source claimed the name of the ISIS leader who planned the attack was Mazen Nazhan Ahmed Abdullah al-Obeidi Riachy also known as Abu Islam al-Ansari. Ansari was arrested in the Wahid Haziran neighborhood and later killed by civilians.

On October 24, HRW called for an inquiry into the “airstrike” on October 21 that hit the women’s side of al-Khani mosque in Daquq, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, killing at least 13 women and children. The “strike” on the mosque, filled with mourners observing the Muslim holy month of Muharram, occurred without apparent military targets in the vicinity, residents told Human Rights Watch. Of the troops fighting in the battle for Mosul, only U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq and the Iraqi Air Force are known to conduct airstrikes in this region. Media outlets have also reported this as an airstrike, likely carried out by the coalition, but a coalition spokesperson denied that they were responsible for the attack or civilian casualties.

On October 24, the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, denied claims that Sunni Arab IDPs were forcibly deported from Kirkuk province by his administration. The following day, the Diyala Provincial Council announced the arrival of 10 displaced Sunni Arab families in Diyala Province who were “forcibly deported” from Kirkuk.

On October 25, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Ambassador Brett McGurk, denied that the international coalition had carried out any bombing operations in Kirkuk and acknowledged that an investigation was underway to confirm this. A funeral procession was apparently bombed in the city of Daquq, 58 km south of Kirkuk, on October 21 that killed 10 women and injured multiple men. Iraqi officials believe the attack originated from an airstrike, a capability only the international coalition and Iraqi Air Force have.

On October 25, the leader of the Arab Coalition party and former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Saleh al-Mutlaq, condemned the forced deportation of Sunni Arabs from Kirkuk, calling the action “ethnic cleansing” and demanding an international investigation. In a phone call with the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, al-Mutlaq called for peaceful coexistence and an end to the forced deportations, which he said only serve ISIS’s agenda of creating ethnic and sectarian rifts in communities which they can then exploit.

On October 25, the UN expressed concern that Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk forced 250 Sunni Arab families (approximately 1,500 individuals) to leave Kirkuk after an ISIS attack on the Kurdish-controlled city, stating that the move could be seen as collective punishment. According to Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, the UN was informed that two days after the ISIS attack, Kurdish authorities announced they would be expelling Sunni Arabs. Authorities in Kirkuk suspect the ISIS militants who attacked Kirkuk on October 21 were helped by Sunni sleeper cells. Grande said the UN had no evidence that the families had helped ISIS and suggested it was used as a pretext to deport them.

On October 25, the Arab Council in Kirkuk convened for an emergency session to address the October 21 ISIS attack in Kirkuk, and released a statement praising security forces in Kirkuk for protecting the people but also calling on them to remain professional in the aftermath of the attack and not resort to collective punishment of Arabs.

On October 25, Almada Press reported that ISIS militants continue to be killed or arrested in Kirkuk after ISIS militants attacked the city of Kirkuk on October 21. An anonymous security source in Kirkuk Province reported that two suicide bombers detonated explosives in the al-Aleab, near the center of Kirkuk. Another source in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) reported that one unnamed ISIS leader was killed and five militants were arrested by security forces in the center of Kirkuk.

On October 25, the Council of Ministers agreed to compensate the victims’ families of the Daqaq bombing that happened outside of Kirkuk on October 21. The supposed air strike killed ten women and injured multiple men after hitting a funeral procession near a mosque.

On October 26, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk Province reported that five ISIS members were killed after armed clashes with security forces in Taza, 25 kilometers south of Kirkuk. ISIS militants were fleeing Kirkuk to Rashad, 45 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, when joint security forces engaged them.

On October 26, the UN OHCHR offered further information about the forced deportations of IDPs from Kirkuk. In the morning of October 23, following the ISIS attack in Kirkuk the day before, the Security Committee of Kirkuk Province and Asayish Forces issued a decision ordering all IDPs living outside camps in Kirkuk to vacate their residences by 8:00 a.m. the following day. The order specifies that IDPs who do not comply with the deadline set for the eviction will be forced to vacate their residences which would then be demolished. The only option given to those who wish to stay in the Kirkuk area is to move into established camps which are either at or very near capacity. OHCHR warns that any evictions made based on security concerns should be a last resort and not discriminatory in any way. However, the Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim, issued a statement the same day once again denying claims that authorities in Kirkuk were forcibly deporting IDPs in response to the ISIS attack on the city. Karim stated that there had been no official decision to deport IDPs, and that the Province was still receiving IDPs and working to return them to their liberated areas of origin once it was safe to do so.


ISIS Militants Also Attack Rutba in Western Anbar, Prompting Heightened Security

On October 21, intelligence director of the al-Somoud Brigade PMU Nazim Al-Jughaifi reported that two Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) leaders in charge of administration had escaped to the western Anbar region with a large sum of money without permission from ISIS. Preliminary reports indicate that ISIS security was sent to search for the two fugitives in Rawa, Qa’im, and other western Anbar areas. ISIS has seen numerous militants and leaders flee ISIS ranks after losing ground in Iraq.

On October 21, Diyala police chief Major General Jassim al-Saadi reported that joint security forces carried out a “large scale security operation” in the Mandali area villages, 90 kilometers east of Baquba. The operation resulted in the seizure of four improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

On October 21, Diyala Provincial Council Member Karim al-Jabouri reported that Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias repelled Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants from three points in Sherwin, 45 kilometers east of Baquba. Jabouri called for immediate support for the PMU militias in Sherwin who have repelled 13 attacks recently.

On October 22, Al Sumaria News reported on the dissatisfaction of returnees to Fallujah with conditions in the city and their demands for help in restoring it. A number of shop owners in Fallujah have demanded that the central government compensate them and all other merchants in Fallujah for conducting their business, as they have been urged to do by authorities in order to provide for the basic needs of residents in Fallujah, so that they can repair marketplaces and shops which were badly damaged by Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The shop owners also called on the Anbar Provincial Council to disclose the true rate of destruction of the city, which they estimated to be about 80%, rather than downplay the damage in order to encourage more returns to the city.

On October 22, Anbar Provincial Police Chief Major General Hadi al-Rzayej reported that security forces opened two local police stations in the center of Fallujah after security forces cleared ISIS militants from the city in May 2016. Al-Rzayej claimed that the police station will be equipped with items, weapons, and communication equipment.

On October 23, Mayor of Rutba Imad Meshaal al-Dulaimi reported that ISIS militants attacked the city of Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi, from three different directions. Al-Dulaimi claimed that ISIS was using many different types of weapons against security forces in the ongoing clash.

On October 23, Anbar Operations Commander Major General Qassim al-Muhammadi reported that security forces managed to clear 27 houses of IEDs, blow up 20 other explosive devices, and destroy tunnels and trenches used by ISIS in the city of Hit, 70 kilometers west of Ramadi. Mohammadi claimed that security forces will continue to clear Hit of explosive devices so that internally displaced people (IDP) can safely return to the area.

On October 23, President of Anbar Provincial Council Sabah Karhut reported that the security situation in Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi, “is very serious and needs urgent and immediate intervention to prevent [ISIS] control of the city…” Karhut urged the Ministries of Defense and Interior to send reinforcements to repel the attack by ISIS. Rutba was cleared of ISIS militants in August 2016, but securing the road between Rutba and Ramadi requires a military presence to prevent ISIS militants from breaching the city.

On October 23, al-Harbi News reported that Iraqi security forces (ISF) destroyed 12 ISIS vehicles and seized five others that contained weapons after thwarting an attack on the city of Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi. The news source stressed that Rutba was under the control of security forces except for an outpost in the mosque of Saad bin Abi Waqas.   

On October 23, Vice President of the Rutba Provincial Council Ali Abdul Otaiwi reported that joint security forces imposed a curfew on Rutba “until further notice to ensure the elimination of ISIS militants.” Otaiwi also claimed that military reinforcements would arrive from Baghdad to “reimpose security and stability” in Rutba.  

On October 23, Vice President of the Rutba Provincial Council Ali Abdul Otaiwi reported that PMU militias raided an ISIS controlled house that was being used by a large concentration of ISIS militants, killing four would-be suicide bombers before they detonated in Rutba. Otaiwi claimed that security forces are protecting civilians and trying to keep them away from violent clashes with ISIS militants.

On October 23, an anonymous security source in the Anbar Province reported that ISF were taking “tough measures” at all entrances to cities around Ramadi in anticipation of possible attacks by ISIS militants. Security forces claimed to have increased surveillance and monitoring procedures by creating mobile checkpoints on main roads to stop any potential security breaches.

On October 24, intelligence director of the al-Somoud Brigade popular mobilization unit (PMU), Nazim al-Jaghifi reported that five ISIS militants were killed and an ISIS vehicle was destroyed when an armed clash broke out between security forces and ISIS during an operation to clear buildings of militants in Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi. Al-Jaghifi reported that PMU militia  forces will continue to “inspect” areas in Rutba while they wait for Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (ICS) reinforcements to arrive.   

On October 24, Commander of a PMU in Anbar Province Colonel Shakir Obeid al-Dulaimi reported that security forces managed to kill 30 ISIS militants during engagements in Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi. Al-Dulaimi also claimed that security forces are searching building for ISIS militants and that reinforcements have arrived to help secure the city.  

On October 24, Mayor of Rutba Imad Meshaal al-Dulaimi reported that nine ISIS militants were killed and three others were arrested in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Rutba, 280 kilometers west of Ramadi. Al-Dulaimi reported that the number of ISIS militants that participated in attack did not exceed fifty. Security forces are expected to clear ISIS militants from the city in the next few hours.

On October 24, Joint Special Operations Command forces in Iraq announced the clearing of 27 “booby-trapped” houses and destruction of 20 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in western Ramadi, in preparation for the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the area. Ramadi has already seen the return of thousands of IDPs despite security concerns, destruction to the city’s infrastructure, and a lack of services. Thousands of buildings in Ramadi and its outskirts were damaged by clashes between ISIS and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and the city is littered with IEDs. Regardless, the Mayor of Ramadi, Ibrahim al-Osaj, has encouraged returns to the city and claimed that the restoration of services is underway, as previously reported in ISHM.

On October 24, the High Committee on the Return of Displaced Persons in Diyala Province announced the approval of the return of 500 displaced families to the agrarian communities of Sarha, Saidiyah, and Tayeh in northeast Diyala Province recently cleared of ISIS militants. While Diyala Province has been spared the large-scale occupation by ISIS that neighboring provinces have experienced, clearing ISIS sleeper cells from these rural villages have posed a challenge for ISF. The Committee announced that the planned returns will occur on the 25, 27, and 29 of October.

On October 25, Mayor of Rutba Imad Meshaal al-Dulaimi reported that joint security forces regained “full control” of the city of Rutba from ISIS militants. Al-Dulaimi claimed that army and police forces are combing buildings that were controlled by ISIS militants for IEDs and weapons. Rutba was attacked by ISIS militants on October 23 to divert Iraqi Security Forces from operations taking place in Mosul.

On October 26, an anonymous source in the Diyala Police reported that during a search and raid operation, Diyala police were able to arrested a number of suspected ISIS militants in the area of Habbah, 9 kilometers northwest from the center of Baquba. Security forces also located a plant to manufacture IEDs in the area.  

On October 25, spokesman for the Diyala Police Colonel Ghalib al-Attiyah reported that police forces were able to arrest an unnamed ISIS leader after a security operation in the center of Baquba. Intelligence reports suggest the ISIS leader fled from the city of Mosul after joint security forces began operations in the Ninewa Province.


Iraq Refuses Deal on Turkish Troop Presence in Iraq

On October 21, hundreds of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square in Central Baghdad to support the security forces in Mosul. The demonstrators also met to demand the government implement more reforms to fight against corruption and to bring to justice those responsible for the corrupt practices. Meanwhile, dozens of protesters gathered in Dhi Qar, 350 km south of Baghdad, to show support for Iraqi security forces who are fighting in the Mosul operations. The demonstrators also used the protest to renew their rejection of the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, who they view as an “occupying force.” Baghdad and ten other provinces including Dhi Qar have seen protests every Friday since August 2015 demanding government reform.

On October 21, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced plans for an agreement between Iraq and Turkey regarding Turkey’s role in the battle of Mosul. Carter told reporters that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had reached an agreement “in principle” regarding Turkey’s role in the military operations and were hoping for Baghdad’s support of the agreement. Carter noted they are currently “working on the details.” However, an official Iraqi source denied that there was any truth to the report. In a statement to Alsumaria news, the official said there has not been any agreement on Turkey’s role in the battle of Mosul and that Iraq expects Turkey to recognize that it is encroaching on Iraqi sovereignty by keeping troops in northern Iraq. The Pentagon announced Carter’s trip to Ankara earlier in the week to act as a mediator for Turkey and Iraq. Turkey’s involvement in the operation that began on October 17 to clear Mosul of so-called Islamic State militants increased the already present tension between the two nations that originated on October 1 with the Turkish Parliament’s decision to extend the stay of troops in Northern Iraq.

On October 22, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed in a speech saying that Iraq was in the final stages of eliminating the military presence of the so-called Islamic State from the city of Mosul. Al-Abadi noted that not only are the people of Iraq united in the effort of ridding the nation of the threat of terrorism but also that the battle of Mosul has united Iraqi citizens of all religions and ethnicities. Al-Abadi also stated in his speech that Turkey is not fighting to aid Iraq but is fighting in the battle of Mosul for its own interests and to expand its influence in the region. He noted that Iraq wishes for cooperation among its neighbors to rid the region of terrorism and that even though the states have differences in religions and politics, those are not reasons to fight one another. Al-Abadi made the speech at the Supreme Council for Islamic Awakening conference, which launched that day in Baghdad.

On October 22, an anonymous source revealed the arrival of US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, to Baghdad for an unannounced visit. The source noted Carter will meet with Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the current situation in Mosul and the situation with Turkish troops in northern Iraq. Previously, Carter met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 21 in Ankara, where he announced an agreement “in principle” on the role of Turkey in the battle of Mosul, a claim that the Iraqi government denied.

On October 22, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stressed in a meeting with US Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, that the battle of Mosul will be carried out by Iraqi troops and will not allow any force to interfere in the operations. Al-Abadi emphasized that any state that wishes to assist in the military operations must respect Iraq’s sovereignty and may not participate without Iraq’s consent. Al-Abadi also rejected any claims of an agreement between Turkey and Iraq with regard to Turkey’s role in the battle of Mosul. This declaration comes despite prior reports from Secretary Carter than an agreement “in principle” had been reached on October 21. Secretary Carter arrived in Baghdad for an unannounced visit Friday morning after a meeting his meeting in Ankara.

On October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured the international community that Turkey respects the geographical boundaries of each country, even if they are “heavy on [their] hearts,” a possible reference to the city of Mosul, which had been a part of the Ottoman Empire prior to World War I. Erdogan’s comments came after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s rejected any Turkish assistance in the battle of Mosul.

On October 23, Turkish Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildirim announced Turkey’s desire to establish a “safe zone” in Iraq in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This move would be similar to what was done in the Syrian territory adjacent to the Turkish border. In response to a question during a press conference, Yildirim said that the Kurdish region recognizes the “importance of cooperation with Turkey” and the presence of “private Turkish troops” stationed on the Iraqi border side near Erbil demonstrates the KRG’s willingness to work with Turkey. Furthermore, Yildirim said later in the day that Turkish artillery forces were helping Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces outside of Ninewa at the Peshmerga’s request.

On October 23, the head of the Iraqi delegation to the General Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (an international organization of parliaments based in Geneva), Aram Sheikh Mohammed, delivered a speech in front of the 135 members of the Union and called on Arab countries to stand against the Turkish “intervention” in Iraq, commenting that Iraqis are determined to clear Mosul of so-called Islamic State militants on its own and rebuild its country while still maintaining the principles of coexistence with its neighbors. The Iraqi delegation to the Conference arrived in the Swiss capital of Geneva for the meetings on October 23. The conference is expected to last for five days.

On October 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the two Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk belong to the Turks. In a speech at college in Bursa city in Turkey, Erdogan told the crowd that the two Iraqi cities were originally Turkish and that Iraq “should know that Mosul and Kirkuk were [Turkey’s]” and that Turkey will “take them back.”

On October 24, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga denied any cooperation with Turkish forces in the process of clearing Mosul of so-called Islamic State militants. The Joint Special Operations Command also denied any Turkish involvement in the battle of Mosul and that any claims by the Turkish government are “baseless.” An anonymous source within the Command said that Turkish forces will not be involved in the operations in any way. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reiterated this denial while meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Prime Minister Stefan Lofen, on October 24. This denial comes after Turkish Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildirim’s comments on October 23 that the Peshmerga requested Turkish artillery aid in the Ninewa province in the battle of Mosul.

On October 24, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that Turkish intervention in Iraq will bring “devastation and destruction.” Maliki also noted that the “era” of the so-called Islamic State will end soon after the city of Mosul is cleared by Iraqi and Peshmerga forces.

On October 25, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu renewed the threat that Turkey will use what it considers its “rights and opportunities” in Iraq, including the possibility of ground operations. Cavusoglu’s announcement follows the claim made by Turkey yesterday that Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq asked for Turkish artillery aid, a claim that the Peshmerga ardently deny. Turkey and Iraq’s leaders have been arguing over the role, if any, Turkey will have in the military operations in Mosul.

On October 25, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the special operations to clear the Ninewa Province of the so-called Islamic State does not include evacuating the cities of their populations and stressed that there is coordination between security forces and humanitarian groups who provide support and relief to displaced people. During the press conference, al-Abadi also commented on the situation with Turkish troops, noting that the Council of Ministers discussed the matter and “apologize for the escalation.” Al-Abadi stressed that the government will not allow Turkish forces to occupy Iraqi territory nor participate in Mosul operations. He also disclosed that Iraqi forces have entered into the advance stages of clearing the city of so-called Islamic State militants.

On October 25, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Ambassador Brett McGurk confirmed that Turkish troops are not part of the international coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq. However, Ambassador McGurk did state that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is a terrorist organization that Turkey has the right to defend itself from and that the PKK should be a cause of concern for the provincial government in Northern Iraq.

On October 26, dozens of protesters gathered in Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan to protest the Turkish military presence in Kurdistan and called for international pressure on Turkey to force it to withdraw its troops. Protesters carried signs with slogans denouncing the Turkish “occupation” and added the Turkish presence poses a threat to the sovereignty of the region.

On October 27, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened that his country will take measures to respond to any attacks on Turkmen in the Ninewa Province. Cavusoglu stated that Turkey is determined to protect the rights of Turkmen in Northern Iraq and will not stand idly by in the face of an attack.

On October 27, US President Barack Obama welcomed the continuation of dialogue between Iraq and Turkey to determine the appropriate level and shape of Turkey’s participation in the international coalition’s operations against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq. The White House said in a statement that President Obama spoke to his Turkish counterpart, President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to address the current campaign against the so-called Islamic State. Obama continued thanking the Turkish government for its help in the fight against terrorism in the region as allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and stressed the importance of Turkey to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

On October 27, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari warned of a “marginal war” if the crisis between Iraq and Turkey over the Turkish presence in Iraqi territory is not resolved and emphasized Iraq’s refusal to allow any international interference into its internal affairs.

On October 27, a member of Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Abbas al-Bayati commented that Iraq did not need foreign combat troops within its territory while speaking about the recent U.S. efforts to open a dialogue between Iraq and Turkey regarding the Turkish troops currently stationed in northern Iraq. Al-Bayati stated that US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter initiated the American efforts, and when those were unsuccessful, President Barack Obama called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to attempt to mediate the situation. Al-Bayti added that Iraq’s position is clear and that they welcome bilateral relations with Turkey, but that Turkey must first withdraw its troops.


Oil Ministry May Not Meet OPEC Expectations Citing Financial, Security Situation

On October 22, an anonymous source within Parliament noted the formation of a joint committee to investigate claims made by the media of corruption within the Oil Ministry. Media outlets like al-Sumaria have reported on possible instances of corruption by Oil Ministry representatives. These claims come at a turbulent time within Parliament, which currently lacks a Finance and Defense Minister, both dismissed amid charges of corruption.

On October 25, the Oil Ministry announced the arrival of the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, to Iraq to discuss the role of Iraq in the stability of the world oil markets, especially since Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC behind Saudi Arabia. Last month in Algiers, OPEC and its members reached a tentative agreement to cut production over eight years in order to strengthen prices. However, data suggests there will be a rise in Iraqi oil exports for October and on October 23, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi called for it to receive an exception to the new deal due to its current financial and security situation, which throws an obstacle in OPEC’s path towards a production-cut deal. OPEC is expected to next meet on November 30 and hopes to finalize the deal to limit production.

On October 26, the Oil Ministry announced the launch of twelve oil fields for development and investment in central and southern provinces. The Ministry indicated the contracts for the new fields would be awarded to “qualified” international oil companies either individually or in a coalition after the companies presented business proposals to the Department of Contracts and Petroleum Licenses. The development of these new oil fields goes against the tentative OPEC deal from September that aims to curb oil production and boost prices. Iraq is the second largest oil producing OPEC member after Saudi Arabia.

On October 26, Iraqi President Fuad Masum met with the Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo to discuss the organization’s interest in working with Iraq to address its current economic and security crisis. During the meeting, Masum said that since Iraq’s current financial policy relies heavily on oil exports in order to combat the so-called Islamic State, Iraq should be exempt from the tentative deal to cut oil production. In a press release issued on the sidelines of the meeting, Masum stated that Iraq is running a war against the so-called Islamic State “on behalf of the world” to combat terrorism, which calls for the mobilization of “all possible efforts to strengthen the momentum of this fateful battle and maintain economic stability” within the country. Secretary General Barkindo arrived in Iraq on Tuesday for an official two-day visit with Iraqi Oil Ministry and other government officials.

On October 26, the price of oil fell below $50 per barrel, the lowest price in a month. Some experts point to Iraq’s unwillingness to commit to the OPEC proposal of cutting oil production as the reason for the decrease. During meetings today and yesterday with OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, Iraqi officials including Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi and Iraqi President Fuad Masum, requested that Iraq be exempted from the deal due to its ongoing battle with the so-called Islamic State. Iraq is OPEC’s second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, which makes Iraq essential in successfully implementing the deal. OPEC is scheduled to have its next meeting in Vienna on November 30.

On October 27, the price of oil rose above $50 per barrel, which alleviated investors’ concerns that OPEC would not be able to reach its deal with members to cut oil production. Iraq’s recent calls for an exemption to the deal temporarily sent the price of oil to its lowest in over a month amid fears that a deal would not be reached.


DateLocationDeathsInjuries
10/27/16Abu Dshir, South of Baghdad 25
10/27/16Suleikh, North Baghdad17
10/27/16Obeidi, East Baghdad17
10/27/16Tarmiyah, North Baghdad38
10/26/16Abu Dshir, South Baghdad25
10/26/16Sadr City, Northeast Baghdad16
10/26/16Taji, North of Baghdad29
10/26/16Suleikh, North Baghdad16
10/25/16Kirkuk, City Center00
10/25/16Kirkuk, City Center00
10/25/16Latifiya, South of Baghdad38
10/25/16Baghdad Al Jadeeda, East Baghdad16
10/25/16Taji, North Baghdad 14
10/24/16Al-Za’franiya, Southeast Baghdad27
10/24/16Abu Ghraib, West of Baghdad20
10/24/16Bayaa, South Baghdad26
10/24/16Fourth Bridge, Center Kirkuk00
10/24/16Saidiya, South of Baghdad18
10/24/16Adhamiyah, North of Baghdad10
10/23/16Al-Za’franiya, Southeast Baghdad27
10/23/16Maraj, Central Kirkuk00
10/23/16Sheikh Omar, Central Baghdad27
10/23/16Abu Ghraib, Western Baghdad14
10/23/16Dora, South Baghdad17
10/22/16Madain, South of Baghdad 17
10/22/16Abu Ghraib, West Baghdad26
10/22/16Al-Furat, Southwest Baghdad26
10/22/16Madain, South of Baghdad38
10/21/16Dora, South Baghdad19
10/21/16Basra City, Northeast Basra 00
10/21/16Fallujah, West of Baghdad10
10/21/16Dora, South Baghdad19
10/21/16Domiz, South Kirkuk02
10/21/16Hosseinia, Northeast of Baghdad25
10/21/16Yusufiya, South of Baghdad29
10/21/16Obeidi, East Baghdad18
10/21/16Dibs, Northwest of Kirkuk86
10/21/16Dibs, Northwest of Kirkuk86
10/21/16Al-Mutassim, South of Tikrit515

 

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.


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