ISHM: November 4 – 10, 2016

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Security Forces Press Into and Hold Eastern Mosul as Allies Approach – U.S. Central Command reports that nearly 1,400 ISIS militants have been killed since operations to clear the city of Mosul began on October 14, and that ISIS may be losing control of its fighters as they retreat toward western Mosul. Iraq’s Army and elite Counterterrorism Service have been largely successful in clearing eastern portions of the city of militants, while Popular Mobilization Units clear and hold portions to the west, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga approach from the north and northeast, and the Federal Police from the south. Federal Police managed to clear the town of Hamam al-Alil (15 kilometers south of Mosul) on November 5 and have established a civil defense station there. PMU militias have reportedly cut off western supply lines to Mosul and are now preparing to surround the city of Tal Afar, 63 kilometers west of Mosul. Efforts in Mosul continued to be assisted by U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes. According to U.S. Central Command spokesperson Col. John Thomas, 38 Iraqi civilians have been killed by these airstrikes since November 2015, despite attempts to avoid civilian casualties “as much as possible.” more…
  • Seizing Opportunity, Moslawis Begin to Flee as ISIS Commits Atrocities – As Iraqi Security Forces have gained some control over neighborhoods in eastern Mosul, some residents are seizing the opportunity to exit the city. Over the past week, the number of civilians fleeing Mosul has doubled to more than 45,000. Approximately 70% are being evacuated to IDP camps such as Hol Camp in Syria, and the Khazar and Hasansham Camps in Ninewa Province; while 30% are sheltered in host communities, private residences, or abandoned buildings. Concern over family separation or being captured and used as human shields has compelled many Moslawis to remain in their homes. After Iraqi Federal Police seized control of Hamam al-Alil on November 4, a mass grave of over 100 decapitated bodies was found – most belonging to former Iraqi Security Force members and their families. The UN reports that ISIS has moved more than 1,500 families from central Mosul toward the airport southwest of the city, abducted several hundred former ISF officers and their families from villages near Tal Afar, and kidnapped at least 30 tribal sheiks near Sinjar. In addition, over 400 Kurdish, Yazidi, and Shia Muslim women continue to be held in Tal Afar as sex slaves. more…
  • Sharqat Attacked as Oil Fires Burn in Nearby Qayyarah – On November 4, approximately 30 ISIS militants attacked the Grand Mosque and General Hospital in Sharqat, a strategically important city on the Tigris River in Salah ad-Din Province, which was ostensibly cleared of ISIS militants on September 22. The attacks on the mosque left an unreported number of casualties while two people were killed and 20 injured at the hospital. In nearby Qayyarah, 19 oil wells set ablaze by ISIS on October 18 continue to burn, despite Ministry of Oil efforts to extinguish the fires ever since. The World Health Organization reported that the oil fires continue to cause severe respiratory health problems for IDPs sheltering in nearby Jedaa, Haj, and Zelikan Camps. more…
  • Kirkuk Accused of Forced Displacements as ISIS Brutality Continues – Amnesty International released a report on the forced displacement of Arab residents from Kirkuk Province following an ISIS attack in Kirkuk City on October 21. Amnesty indicated that in response to the attack, Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk demolished the homes of hundreds of Sunni Arab residents and IDPs who had fled there from Anbar, Diyala, and Salah ad-Din Provinces. The agency’s research indicates that security forces ordered Arab residents to return to their places of origin and confiscated their identity documents. Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Karim has denied the existence of an official policy of forced displacement. Meanwhile, ISIS militants continues its brutality in Hawija where it executed 14 boys and young men in front of their parents for writing anti-ISIS slogans on walls in a village west of the city. Separately, a “disgruntled” ISIS militant reportedly broke into a prison in Hawija and freed hostages, mostly former members of the ISF or civilians suspected of collaborating with them. more…
  • ISIS Militants Disguised as Ambulance Drivers Launch Attacks in Salah ad-Din – In two separate incidents, ISIS militants launched attacks while disguised as ambulance drivers in direct violation of international humanitarian law. On November 6, an ISIS suicide bomber drove an ambulance into a checkpoint in Tikrit, killing 20 and injuring dozens. The same day, another suicide bomber drove an ambulance into a parking garage at a hospital in Samarra, killing 10 and injuring 14. Iraqi Security Forces and PMU militias will begin inspecting both civilian vehicles and ambulances at checkpoints under their control. more…
  • ISIS Militants Flee to Qa’im as Security Forces Seek to Clear Western Anbar – Iraqi and U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes targeted Rawa in western Anbar Province, killing several ISIS leaders and leadership aids. According to the al-Somoud PMU, ISIS has ordered militants to leave Rawa for Qa’im, and to burn, destroy, and set IEDs in houses as they do so. Qa’im is among the last of ISIS’s strongholds in western Anbar Province, although sleeper cells and insurgents frequently arise. more…
  • Protests Continue over Education Ministry’s Shortcomings – Following a string of school protests across Iraq over a lack of textbooks that continued this week, the Ministry of Education announced that it will distribute books to students “as soon as possible.” Education Minister Mohammed Iqbal has blamed a 60% reduction in the Ministry’s budget for the delay, claiming that his is the Ministry “most affected by the economic situation” and “policies of austerity.” Beyond problems of resourcing schools, an estimated 3.5 million children in Iraq are out of school according to UNICEF. more…

Iraqi Security Forces Press Into and Hold Eastern Mosul as Allies Approach

On November 3, Federal Police Chief, Shakir Jawdat, reported that more than 1,000 Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants have been killed by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) since the start of operations in Mosul and 74 out of 84 villages have been cleared of ISIS militants around Mosul.  Jawdat also reported that over 4,500 families have been evacuated since the start of Mosul operations.

On November 4, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (CTS) managed to clear ISIS militants from the six Mosul districts of Malayeen, Samah, Khadra, Karkukli, Quds, and Karama, located in the eastern part of the city. While a local source reported that CTS forces advanced one and half kilometers inside the city, ISF still have not entered the highly ISIS-entrenched areas in the region. An anonymous senior officer in Bartella, five kilometers from the center of Mosul, reported that CTS is coming up against heavy sniper fire and vehicle-based improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), but managed to take three-quarters of Intisar district in eastern Mosul.

On November 4, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported that ISF cleared ISIS militants from the two villages of Mbanehma and Jahinah, 26 kilometers south of Mosul. Jarallah claimed that security forces inflicted heavy losses on ISIS militants.

On November 4, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Colonel John Dorian, reported that ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is losing control of his fighters as Iraqi troops arrive on the outskirts of the city and begin to push into the city center. Dorian claimed that ISF are seeing a lack of communication between ISIS commanders and that ISIS is executing its own militants as more of them attempt to flee Mosul. While Baghdadi’s location has not been verified, intelligence sources believe he may be located somewhere close to the Iraqi-Syrian border.

On November 4, leader of a Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militia, Sami al-Masoudi, reported that PMU forces completed the first phase of their operations by cutting off vital supplies to militants in Mosul from Syria to help facilitate the movement of ISF troops into the city center. Masoudi claimed that PMU militias will begin the second phase of their operations by surrounding the city of Tal Afar.

On November 4, party leader of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party (DNDP), Romeo Nissan Hakkari, claimed that his party and the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Party (Motwa) signed an agreement to combine their forces to assist ISF and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces with operations in Ninewa. Christian PMUs compose about two to three thousand troops in Kurdish provinces.

On November 4, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that there is “chaos” in the western neighborhoods of Mansour, Mamoun, Wadi Hajar, Sharish, and Najaf in Mosul after the defenses of the eastern neighborhoods were overwhelmed. The source claimed that many militants are fleeing to the western side of the city in order to evacuate to the Iraqi-Syrian border. An earlier report by an anonymous source claimed that the Iraqi army conducted heavy shelling of ISIS’s elite military forces convoy that was fleeing from Mosul to the Iraqi-Syrian border town of Baa’j, 135 kilometers west of Mosul. The source claimed that ISF destroyed five vehicles in the convoy.

On November 5, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported that federal police cleared ISIS completely from the Hamam al-Alil area and the villages of Arbid, Sawadi, Tal Tayyibah, Salahiyah, Mashru Kabrit al Mishraq, as well as an Agricultural College building, 15 kilometers south of the center of Mosul. The CTS is pushing into the Victory neighborhood and cleared ISIS completely from Zaha, Karkukli, Aden, and Dhahabiyah neighborhood in the east of Mosul. PMU militias in the west cleared the villages of Farisiyah as Sufla, Batisha, Khirbat Ibadat al-Sharqi, Eibada, and Khirbet Hammadi.

On November 6, an anonymous media source reported that an aerial bombardment killed Muhannad Hamed Ibrahim Aeklat (Abu Aisha Albiloa) and numerous ISIS militants in the Yarmja area, 83 kilometers southeast of Mosul. There was no information on whether the strike was conducted by the U.S.-led international coalition or the Iraqi Air Force.   

On November 7, an anonymous security source in Ninewa Province reported that federal police managed to clear ISIS militants from villages north of Hammam al-Alil, 10 kilometers south of Mosul. The source claimed that federal police are progressing towards the Mosul airport, five kilometers from their current location.

On November 7, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah reported that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces continued to clear ISIS militants from villages near Ba’shiqah, 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul. A report by Jarallah claimed that Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces cleared ISIS militants from the Intisar neighborhood, Bhazanah, Ras al Ain, al Qadima, and the al-Azzai intersection, a juncture that connects the cities of Mosul, Erbil, and Dohuk. Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces also announced the death of ISIS leader, Fares Abu Bakr AKA Abu Mohammed, head of ISIS’s finance department, during clashes in the northeast of Mosul.

On November 7, a military source reported that F-16 jets killed 12 ISIS militants during an airstrike targeting an ammunition and weapons cache in an unnamed location in eastern Mosul. No further information was given about the event.

On November 7, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported that the eastern Mosul neighborhoods of Intisar , Muftiyah, and Shaimaa were cleared of ISIS militants along with the village Manarat Shabak, 15 kilometers east from the center of Mosul.   

On November 8, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that two explosions rocked the Sihhah district in eastern Mosul. The local source claimed that the explosions took place in two houses that were being used to manufacture IEDs. Early reports do not indicate how many casualties ISIS sustained in the incident.

On November 9, an anonymous local source in Ninewa Province reported that ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will name a deputy commander to succeed him if he should die. The source claimed that this is a very sensitive issue to top ISIS leaders and may create fissures among ISIS militants. The name of the deputy commander has not been released, but Baghdadi is hoping that a deputy commander may help prevent a vacuum that could occur if he should die.     

On November 9, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan reported that the CTS was continuing to clear IEDs from areas cleared of ISIS militants of in the eastern districts of Mosul. While security forces are continuing to progress towards the city center, Numan claimed that the CTS is moving carefully forwards in order to distinguish ISIS militants from civilians.

On November 9, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Brigadier General Saad Maan, reported that security forces reopened a civil defense police station in the recently cleared area of Hammam al-Alil, 22 kilometers south of Mosul. Maan reported that the Interior Ministry will continue to open civil defense centers in areas cleared of ISIS militants.

On November 9, an anonymous source in Ninewa Province reported that CTS have pushed into the eastern district of Aden in the city of Mosul. After entering the district, CTS forces encountered and killed 10 would-be suicide bombers travelling in a vehicle attempting to attack security forces.

On November 10, an anonymous military media source reported that security forces managed to kill an administrator on ISIS’s “war tribunal,” Khalid al-Mitoata at an unnamed location in the eastern side of the city of Mosul. No further details were given about the event.

On November 10, an anonymous security source reported that the Iraqi Army managed to kill numerous snipers and destroy two VBIEDs in the al-Shallalat neighborhood, north of Mosul. The source also claimed that the CTS was able to destroy five VBIEDs in the Karma District in eastern Mosul.       

November 10, according to U.S. command spokesman, Colonel John Thomas, reported that 38 Iraqi civilians have been killed in U.S.-led international coalition airstrike since November 2015 in mainly Mosul and Qayyarah, 62 kilometers south of Mosul. Thomas explained that the U.S-led international coalition tries to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible and claimed that all strikes were “legal.” An independent search by Almada Press verified this report.


Seizing Opportunity, Moslawis Begin to Flee as ISIS Commits Atrocities

Nov. 4 Nov. 5 Nov. 6 Nov. 7 Nov. 8 Nov. 9 Nov. 10
Total IDPs 22,224 28,890 33,996 34,038 34,860 41,988 45,294
Daily Net Change +432 +6,666 +5,106 +42 +822 +7,128 +3,306

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Displaced from Mosul and Surrounding Areas Since Military Operations Began on October 17.

On November 4, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reported on a number of Iraqis displaced by Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) violence in Ninewa Province awaiting screening at the Rajm Sleby checkpoint on the Syrian side of the border. Their exact number and condition are being determined with the relevant authorities. The Hol camp in Hassakeh Province of Syria near the border with Ira where these internally displaced persons (IDPs) are likely to be sheltered upon receiving security clearance, is in the process of having its capacity expanded from 15,000 to 50,000 people in order to accommodate the influx of Iraqi refugees fleeing conflict in Ninewa Province.

On November 4, the Minister of Displacement and Migration, Jassim Mohammed, announced the displacement of more than 5,000 people to the Gogjali area, east of Mosul, which is being cleared of ISIS militants by Iraqi and coalition forces. Mohammed reported that the IDPs were received at Khazar camp, 37 kilometers east of Mosul. According to Mohammed, this is the largest influx of IDPs to Khazar camp since October 14.

On November 4, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ravina Shamdasan revealed that OHCHR received reports that on November 1, trucks full of abducted civilians, reportedly some 1,600 people, were taken from Hamam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, to Tal Afar city, 63 kilometers west of Mosul, to be used as human shields by ISIS. Some of the families were allegedly told they could be transported to Syria. On November 2, another 150 families were transferred from Hamam al-Alil to Mosul city to be used as human shields by ISIS. Also on November 2, ISIS reportedly used loudspeakers to order the residents of Lazaghah and Arij villages, about five kilometers from Hamam al-Alil city center, to leave their villages or be severely punished. OHCHR also continued to receive reports of mass killings, including one incident on October 31, when ISIS reportedly killed 50 of its own militants in the Ghazlani military base in Mosul city for attempted desertion. There are also credible reports that 180 people were killed on November 2 in the Gogjali area in eastern Mosul, and possibly up to another 200 people were killed in Mosul city. OHCHR has also received information that ISIS is holding approximately 400 women from Kurdish, Yazidi or Shia Muslim communities in Tal Afar. Additionally, four women were allegedly killed and 17 other civilians injured by an airstrike on the evening of November 2 in the Quds neighborhood of eastern Mosul.

On November 4, the Ninewa Provincial Council announced that more than 8,000 IDPs from Karama, Quds, and Gogjali neighborhoods in eastern Mosul were received at Khazar camp, 37 kilometers east of Mosul on the morning of November 4. As of November 4, Khazar camp was being expanded in order to provide shelter for an additional 30,000 IDPs, as reported by UNHCR.

On November 5, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration announced the displacement of 9,000 individuals from the Gogjali and Qaraj neighborhoods of eastern Mosul district in Ninewa Province between November 3 and 5. The Ministry stated that these IDPs were received in Hasansham and Khazar camps in Hamdaniya district of Ninewa Province, east of Mosul.

On November 6, UNHCR reported on the humanitarian response to the crisis surrounding military operations in Mosul. UNHCR protection monitoring has reached more than 2,000 recently-displaced families, and findings indicate that 21% of families are headed

by a female and 63% of families are missing civil documentation. More than 50 unaccompanied or separated children were identified for appropriate assistance. UNHCR also received reports of family separation from IDPs in Zelikan camp in Qayyarah, 65 kilometers south of Mosul. As of November 6, UNHCR identified 12 families who were separated from their male relatives, who had been taken for further investigation. Three family members returned to Zelikan camp, but others have not yet been located.

On November 7, the Military Media Unit reported that 100 decapitated bodies were found in a mass grave in Hamam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul in Ninewa Province. The mass grave was found on the grounds of the School of Agriculture on the outskirts of Hamam al-Alil, and the bodies are presumed to be victims of one of the mass executions ISIS has conducted since military operations in Mosul began on October 17. On November 8, spokesperson for OHCHR, Ravina Shamdasan, confirmed that OHCHR received reports that the bodies found in the mass grave in Hamam al-Alil were those of the 50 former Iraqi police officers who were executed by ISIS on October 25 as previously reported in ISHM, along with their family members.

On November 8, a local source in Ninewa Province reported to Al Sumaria News that two children and one elderly person died due to overcrowding and inhumane conditions in a house where forcibly displaced civilians are being held by ISIS militants for use as human shields. According to the source, who asked not to be named, the deceased were among the many families who were taken from their homes in Qayyarah subdistrict, 65 kilometers south of the center of Mosul in Ninewa Province, and forced into a residential building in the Farouk neighborhood in eastern Mosul city.

On November 8, the District Director for Shura, Khaled al-Jar, announced that federal police forces were working to remove IEDs and other unexploded ordnance left behind by retreating ISIS militants and cleaning up neighborhoods so that IDPs from the district can return to their homes. Al-Jar stated that around 3,000 IDPs from Shura district, 10 kilometers south of Mosul in Ninewa Province, were sheltering in Jedaa camp in Qayyarah, 65 kilometers south of the center of Mosul, and that they would return as soon as the security situation in the city was improved. 21 IDPs from Shura returned to the district on November 4 despite security concerns.

On November 8, the Minister of Displacement and Migration, Jassim Mohammed, announced that the number of IDPs displaced since October 17 due to military operations in and around Mosul was over 37,000, and reported that the number of returnees to their areas of origin in Ninewa Province in the same reporting period was 2,103.

On November 8, Khazar camp administration announced that 1,600 IDPs were received at the camp since military operations to clear Mosul began on October 17. The camp, which is 37 kilometers east of Mosul in Hamdaniya district of Ninewa Province, currently has 6,000 tents available for IDPs and is being prepared and jointly run by the Ministry of Displacement and Migration and international aid organizations, including UNHCR.

On November 8, the UN News Service reported that ISIS militants forced 1,500 families towards the airport in Mosul. The report also stated that OHCHR has information that between November 1 and November 4, 195 former ISF members were abducted by ISIS in several villages in Tal Afar, and on November 3, another 100 former ISF officers were abducted from Mawali village about 20 kilometers west of Mosul. The fate of these 295 civilians is unknown. The report also mentioned that on of November 2 or 3 ISIS allegedly abducted at least 30 sheiks in the Qayrawan sub-district of Sinjar in Ninewa Province, 116 kilometers west of Mosul, and took them to an unknown location. One report said that 18 of them were killed in Tal Afar district on 14 November, but the information has not yet been verified.

On November 9, UNHCR reported that on November 7 the group evacuated 115 Iraqis from the Rajm Sleby checkpoint, on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq, to Hol camp in Hassakeh Province in Syria. This was the first time UNHCR gained direct access to the checkpoint, where a total of 1,200 Iraqis are estimated to be located. UNHCR is currently ready to provide emergency assistance to up to 15,000 people in Hol camp, with capacity soon doubling and eventually rising to 50,000. Prior to this development, UNHCR recorded 44 Iraqis who had crossed the border into Syria since military operations to clear Mosul began on October 17.

On November 9, OCHA reported that of the near 42,000 individuals displaced due to ongoing conflict in and around Mosul, 70% are sheltered in formal camps and 30% are sheltered in private settings or critical shelter arrangements, such as abandoned buildings, in host communities. OCHA also expressed concern about IDP protection issues. Reports of a disproportionate number of female-headed households have raised questions about family separation, and forced recruitment of boys as young as nine have been reported.

On November 9, a local source in Ninewa Province reported to Al Sumaria News that 30 civilians were executed via electrocution by ISIS militants on charges of collaboration with ISF. The executions took place on the eastern side of downtown Mosul. Further details about the location were not available. According to the source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of ISIS retribution, the executions were filmed.

On November 9, a local source in Ninewa Province reported to Al Sumaria News that ISIS militants forcibly transferred more than 80 civilian families from Faisaliah neighborhood, in the western side of downtown Mosul, to Ahia neighborhood in the eastern side of Mosul, where they abandoned them. The source suspected that the civilians were moved so that ISIS militants could booby-trap their houses.

On November 10, Amnesty International reported that up to six individuals were summarily executed by Iraqi Federal Police in late October, due to suspicions of ties to ISIS. According to the report, men in Federal Police uniforms apprehended and then deliberately killed residents in villages south of Mosul, and in some cases the residents were tortured before they were executed. The executions reportedly occurred in Shura district, 10 kilometers south of Mosul in Ninewa Province, around October 21. The area had been largely depopulated by fighting between ISIS and ISF, and it is for this reason that Amnesty International states that it appears that Iraqi Federal Police were presuming that only ISIS militants remained behind. On November 10, Iraqi Federal Police headquarters issued a statement denying Amnesty International’s accusations, stating that Federal Police were committed to not only defeating ISIS but to protecting civilians’ human rights as well. Later on November 10, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a statement denouncing Amnesty International’s report and asserting that Amnesty International will be solely responsible for any displacements resulting from the report, which he said “terrorizes citizens” and makes them fear the very people who are trying to protect them. This is not the first instance of reported extrajudicial executions by Iraqi Federal Police: on May 27, 2016, during operations to clear Fallujah and surrounding areas of ISIS militants, Amnesty International reported that at least 16 men and boys from the Jumaili tribe were shot dead near Sejar, eight kilometers northwest of the city center of Fallujah, after handing themselves over to men in Federal Police uniforms.

On November 10, Commander of Iraqi Counterterrorism Services (CTS), Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, reported that 90% of the population in the western side of Mosul were staying in their homes rather than attempting evacuation. While civilians who choose to stay in the city may be used as human shields by ISIS, attempting evacuation poses equal if not greater risks. Civilians fleeing Mosul also risk being captured and used as human shields, being caught in the crossfire between ISF and ISIS, and having their homes booby-trapped or destroyed by ISIS in their absence. Iraqi government has also encouraged civilians to stay in their homes during operations to clear Mosul of ISIS militants. For a more in-depth look at why residents of Mosul may choose to stay, read our report.


Sharqat Attacked as Oil Fires Burn in Nearby Qayyarah

On November 4, Head of the District Council in Sharqat, Taha Ahmed, reported that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) sleeper cells stormed the Grand Mosque in the eastern part of Sharqat, 120 kilometers north of Tikrit, and killed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) members and eleven civilians. Joint security forces in the area surrounded the mosque and conducted search and raid operations in the city, killing 24 ISIS militants before the militants fled to the villages of Avajah and Casbah, five kilometers from the center of Sharqat. A conflicting report by the Mayor of Sharqat, Ali Dawdah, reported that 30 ISIS militants infiltrated Sharqat at dawn and attacked the Grand Mosque and security headquarters. Police killed 15 ISIS militants during a gun battle before the militants fled the area. Dawdah claimed that one security force member was killed and seven other wounded. Both sources claim that the situation is now under control.  

On November 5, the Ministry of Oil directed its departments in northern Iraq to strengthen technical and engineering efforts to address the burning oil wells in Qayyarah, 65 kilometers south of the center of Mosul, which were set on fire by ISIS militants between October 17 and October 19 in response to the start of military operations in Mosul. The Ministry allocated more workers, machinery and equipment to its departments in northern Iraq in order to expedite the response to the oil fires which have become an environmental and humanitarian disaster.

On November 6, Salah al-Din Provincial Council Member Abdel Sultan Issa reported that two people were killed and 20 injured when a mortar shell hit Sharqat General Hospital in Sharqat, 120 kilometers north of Tikrit. Issa commented that security forces would tighten security checks for IDPs returning to the area. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that between September 24 and October 6, 3,420 IDPs returned to Sharqat, a strategically important town on the Tigris River in Salah ad-Din Province which was ostensibly cleared of ISIS militants on September 22, and hundreds more have likely returned since then.

On November 7, the Minister of Construction and Housing, Anne Nafie Osei, announced the success of 48 specialists assigned by the Ministry of the Interior in putting out fires at the Mishraq sulfur plant set ablaze by ISIS militants on October 22 in Qayyarah, 65 kilometers south of the center of Mosul. Osei noted that the fires, which have been polluting the air in Qayyarah and posing serious health risks to civilians, spread over five kilometers before they were extinguished by the team.

On November 8, the Mayor of Sharqat, Ali al-Dudih, reported the discovery of two mass graves in Sharqat district, 94 kilometers south of Mosul. The graves were reported to hold the bodies of 23 civilians executed by ISIS militants, including many women and children. Sharqat was cleared of ISIS militants by the ISF with the assistance of a U.S.-led international coalition on September 23, but on November 4 there was a resurgence of violence by ISIS sleeper cells in the city, who killed 17 in an attack on a the Grand Mosque in downtown Sharqat.

On November 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that since the military offensive to clear Mosul began on October 17, WHO received 29 trauma injury cases: 10 of them for bullet injuries, four for mortar shell injuries, and two for mine injuries. 11 patients were women and six were children. The youngest of these was a 2-year old male with a bullet injury to the chest. WHO added that the main cause of medical consultations continues to be for respiratory tract infections due to the smoke inhalation. Almost 1,400 cases were reported for sulphur fumes inhalation. Fires set ablaze by ISIS militants on October 22 at the Mishraq sulfur plant in Qayyarah, 65 kilometers south of the center of Mosul, continue to burn but are no longer emitting smoke. 19 oil wells in Qayyarah continue to burn, causing health problems for civilians sheltering in nearby Jedaa, Haj, and Zelikan IDP camps.


Kirkuk Accused of Forced Displacements as ISIS Brutality Continues

On November 4, an anonymous local source in Kirkuk reported that eight families connected to Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants fled the city of Hawija, 55 kilometers west of Kirkuk, to unknown areas. The source claimed that ISIS militants are evacuating their families out of fear of retaliation and identification by security forces and civilians.

On November 4, Kirkuk Provincial Police Chief, Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir, reported that police and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) killed a would-be ISIS suicide bomber that was able to infiltrate the village of Daquq, 35 kilometers south of Kirkuk. The militant was wearing an explosive vest and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle before he was shot by security forces.

On November 5, Obeidi tribe Sheikh, Anwar al-Assi, reported that 11 ISIS militants were killed and 16 injured when an ISIS vehicle-based improvised explosive device (VBIED) exploded in the industrial district of Hawija, 45 kilometers west of Kirkuk. Assi reported that the explosion damaged 20 homes.

On November 6, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported that the Iraqi army managed to clear ISIS militants from a village in the Zab district, 22 kilometers west of Hawija in Kirkuk. The operation resulted in the death of numerous ISIS militants.  

On November 6, an anonymous security force in Kirkuk Province reported that numerous ISIS militants that were linked to the October 21 attacks on Kirkuk were killed or captured during airstrikes and security operations. Seven ISIS militant were killed after a U.S.-led international coalition airstrike targeted a gathering of ISIS militants in Rashad, 35 kilometers south of Kirkuk. Two ISIS militants blew themselves up during a security operation in Aegi, 25 kilometers west of Kirkuk, and seven were arrested in an unnamed area southwest of Kirkuk.

On November 7, Amnesty International reported on forced displacements of Arab residents from Kirkuk Province following the ISIS attack on the province on October 21. Amnesty International’s research reveals that, in response to the attack, authorities in Kirkuk demolished the homes of hundreds of Sunni Arab residents of Kirkuk and Arabs who had fled there from Anbar, Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces; forcibly displacing hundreds of families to camps or expelling them from Kirkuk. The research also shows that the security forces in Kirkuk ordered other Arab residents and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their places of origin and confiscated their identity documents. While the threat against these individuals has not been carried out to date, they remain at risk of expulsion and forced return. Kirkuk Governor Najmaddin Karim has denied that there is an official policy of forced displacement and has publicly committed not to return IDPs to areas still under ISIS control or where clashes are ongoing, notably Mosul and surrounding areas.

On November 8, a local source in Kirkuk Province reported to Al Sumaria News that nine civilians, including women and children, died due to lack of access to medicine and healthcare in the ISIS-controlled city of Hawija, 55 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk City in Kirkuk Province. The source stated that medical equipment and services were being monopolized by ISIS militants wounded in conflict, and that ISIS has no regard for the health and well-being of the “common people.” Hawija came under ISIS control in June 2014 and remains a stronghold for the group, as it was passed over in the rush to clear Mosul of ISIS militants.

On November 8, Kirkuk Police Chief Brigadier General Khattab Omar Aref reported in a press conference that security force managed to thwart an ISIS attack targeting state institutions. Aref did not comment on the number of ISIS arrested or killed and did not comment on the location of the arrest.

On November 9, an anonymous security source in Kirkuk reported that police managed to kill a would-be suicide bomber that was part of the initial ISIS attack on Kirkuk on October 21. The ISIS militant, hiding in the southern Mosul district of Aden, attacked police with a grenade before being shot and killed. The source claimed that the current incident brings the total would-be suicide bombers killed since October 21 to 91.

On November 10, Members of Parliament for Kirkuk Province demanded an immediate end to forced deportation of IDPs in Kirkuk, forced evacuation of of Arab villages in Kirkuk, and the subsequent demolition of Arab homes in these evacuated villages. The statement came after a meeting between Kirkuk’s Arab representatives in Parliament and Salim al-Jabouri, the Speaker of Parliament on November 10 to address the issue of forced displacement in Kirkuk Province.

On November 10, Turkmen PMU leader, Abu Rida al-Najjar reported that his forces constructed a six kilometer long trench in conflict areas between Qasbat ar Riyad, 49 kilometers southwest of Kirkuk, and near the Daquq District, a large district to the immediate south of the city of Kirkuk. With cooperation from Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Najjar claimed that security forces will be able to prevent ISIS militants from infiltrating the city from the rugged southern areas of Kirkuk.

On November 10, a local source in Ninewa Province reported to Almada Press that 14 boys and young men from the village of Shumayt in Zab district, 22 kilometers west of Hawija in Kirkuk Province, were executed by ISIS militants for writing anti-ISIS slogans on walls in the village. According to the source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of ISIS retribution, the boys and young men were beheaded in front of their parents despite pleas for mercy and payments of ransom. The source connected the executions to a prison break in Hawija: a “disgruntled” ISIS militant reportedly broke into a prison in Hawija, 55 kilometers west of Kirkuk, and freed hostages who were being held there by ISIS. According to Almada Press’s source, the hostages were mostly former members of the ISF or civilians suspected of collaborating with them.

On November 10, Deputy Commander of Operations in Ninewa Province, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Rasheed Jarallah, reported that security forces managed to clear ISIS militants from a village in Zab, 22 west of Hawija. Jarallah claimed that operations are still progressing forward against ISIS militants in the region.


ISIS Militants Disguised as Ambulance Drivers Launch Attacks in Salah ad-Din

On November 6, an anonymous security source in Salah al-Din Province reported that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants killed an elder of the Shammar tribe and 16 others when they stormed the elder’s home in Telol al baj, 105 kilometers north of Tikrit. 11 members of the elders family and five others, including women and children, were killed during the ISIS attack.  

On November 6, the World Health Organization (WHO) condemned reports of attacks using ambulances to target civilians in Tikrit and Samarra in Salah ad-Din Province. WHO received reports of suicide bombers driving ambulances that killed more than 20 people and injured dozens more at a checkpoint in Tikrit, approximately 198 kilometers south of Mosul, and a parking lot in Samarra, approximately 257 kilometers south of Mosul. The reported use of medical vehicles as weapons threatens the ability to deliver health care and urgent medical services. When ambulances are suspected as potential security threats, their freedom of movement to care for the sick and injured is at risk of life-threatening delays. WHO did not offer further information about the perpetrators of these attacks.  

On November 6, Commander of the Saraya Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU), Abu Zahra, reported that the suicide attacks that occurred in a parking garage at Samarra Hospital was in response to ineffective and lazy security at security checkpoints under the control of the Saraya PMU. The bomber was wearing a federal police uniform and told guards that he was transporting injured people to the hospital. The PMU reported that they only inspect civilian vehicles and not federal vehicles or ambulances. Governor of the Salah al-Din Province, Ahmed Abdullah, claimed that PMU militiamen “did not carry out their duties properly” and that the bombing was in response to inactivity and “heedlessness” of security details. The bombing resulted in the death of 10 people and 14 injuries.

On November 7, PMU militia leader, Colonel Khalid al-Qaisi reported that ISIS attempted to launch an offensive on the Ajeel oil fields, 46 kilometers east of Tikrit. Qaisi reported that Iraq army and police arrived and the “situation is under control. A later report on November 8 by a PMU militia leader claimed that the PMU militia killed an unnamed “Emir of ISIS” in the Ajeel oil fields.

On October 8, a military media source reported that a U.S.-led international coalition drone strike killed ISIS military commander in Baghdad and Diyala, Abu Mariam, in the Tarmiya area, 42 kilometers north of Baghdad. No further details were given about the drone strike.


ISIS Militants Flee to Qa’im as Security Forces Seek to Clear Western Anbar

On November 4, intelligence director of the al-Somoud Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU), Nazim al-Jaghifi, reported that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants blew up a sewing and weaving factory and the local meteorological department with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) near Rutba, 190 kilometers west of Ramadi. Jaghifi claimed that ISIS stole most of the building’s contents before fleeing the site.

On November 6, intelligence director of the al-Somoud PMU, Nazim al-Jaghifi, reported that intelligence information enabled the Iraqi Army Air Force to conduct an aerial bombardment in the Rayhanna area, 154 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, killing ISIS “leader” Ali Osman Faraji and five of his aides. The strike also destroyed three ISIS vehicles and IEDs that were placed to inhibit security forces from clearing Rawa, 171 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, of ISIS militants.    

On November 6, the intelligence director of the al-Somoud Brigade Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU), Nazim al-Jughaifi, reported that ISF and coalition forces were able to partially lift the siege on the ISIS-controlled town of Anah, 190 kilometers west of Ramadi in Anbar Province, and free 83 civilians who were being used as human shields by ISIS. Anah has been under ISIS control since 2014 and on October 30 the Mayor of Anah, Saad Awad, announced that approximately 7,000 civilians were being held hostage in the town and would likely be used as human shields as ISF and coalition forces move towards clearing the town of ISIS militants.

On November 7, intelligence director of the al-Somoud PMU, Nazim al-Jaghifi, announced that the decision by joint security forces to ban PMUs from fighting ISIS militants in areas of western Anbar was “unjust” and accused parties of “political and partisan goals and interests.”Jaghifi claimed that the Haditha district is the only area that has withstood “terrorist” infiltrations.

On November 8, intelligence director of the al-Somoud PMU, Nazim al-Jaghifi, reported that ISIS ordered all of its militants to leave the city of Rawa, 170 kilometers northwest of Ramadi, with their families because ISIS reportedly called the city unable to be defended. Burning, destroying, and booby trapping houses as they leave Rawa, ISIS militants are fleeing to Qa’im, 220 kilometers west of Ramadi, in order to defend their last area in Anbar Province. Later, an anonymous source in Anbar Operations Command reported that ISIS barricaded the Iraqi-Syrian border near Qa’im to prevent the possibility of ISIS militants and their families fleeing to Syria. The source reported that ISIS constructed concrete barriers and checkpoints on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

On November 8, a military media source claimed that the Iraqi Air Force killed or injured nine ISIS militants and destroyed 11 ISIS vehicles after targeting a militant “haven” in Rawa, 170 kilometers west of Ramadi. The site was being used to house IEDs and anti-aircraft weapons.

On November 9, an anonymous senior military source reported that the U.S.-led international coalition airstrike destroyed six ISIS local strongholds and killed numerous militants in unnamed locations, 190 kilometers west of Ramadi. The U.S.-led international coalition airstrike also managed to destroy an ISIS tanker carrying oil in the same area.

On November 10, an anonymous source in Baghdad Operations Command reported that security forces arrested five ISIS militants entering the city of Fallujah, 62 Kilometers west of Baghdad, with returning displaced civilians. Security forces transferred the militants to a detention center for interrogation. The city center of Fallujah has seen a return of IDPs since 17 September 2016.


Protests Continue over Education Ministry’s Shortcomings

On November 4, the Ministry of Education announced that it is processing textbooks which will be distributed to students as soon as possible. The Ministry failed to produce and distribute textbooks during the current school year, leading to ongoing protests by students, teachers, and parents. Parliament is also considering an interrogation of the Minister of Education, Mohammed Iqbal, regarding the issue. At the time, the Ministry blamed the shortage on a lack of funding, but have since allocated funds to address the problem.

On November 5, Parliament held a regularly scheduled session. It discussed the draft of the 2017 fiscal budget and questioned the Minister of Electricity, Qasim al-Fahadawi.

On November 5, Member of Parliament and of the Legal Committee Mahmoud al-Hassan gave the Ministry of Education two days to resolve its issues surrounding the textbook shortage before Parliament takes legal action against the Ministry. Al-Hassan commented that by denying people a crucial component of their education the Ministry is disregarding the Iraqi Constitution, which protects the right to education. The Ministry of Education claimed on Friday, November 4, that it had begun the process of distributing textbooks in response to protests by students, teachers, and parents all throughout Iraq demanding action.

On November 7, the Minister of Education, Mohammed Iqbal, attributed the Ministry’s inability to produce textbooks to a 60% reduction of the Ministry’s budget. Iqbal noted during the meeting with Parliament that the Ministry is “the most affected by the economic situation” and “policies of austerity.” Iqbal met informally with Parliament last week to explain his Ministry’s lack of textbooks for students after Iraq saw multiple protests by students, teachers, and parents.

On November 8, dozens of members of the Teacher’s Union demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Education building in central Baghdad to show support for parents who are dissatisfied with the Ministry’s delay in distributing textbooks and establishing a curriculum and are calling for Parliament to formally question the Minister. Meanwhile, protesters also gathered in Basra, 450 kilometers south of Baghdad, to demand answers from the Ministry of Education regarding its inability to provide school supplies to students.

On November 8, Parliament held a regularly scheduled session. It was scheduled to vote on the Public Prosecutions Act and vote on a draft of the Iraqi Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, Parliament will continue its debate on the 2017 fiscal budget and form a committee to scrutinize state funds since 2003. The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Humam Hamoudi, confirmed that Parliament was scheduled to complete its discussion of the budget bill on November 9.

On November 8, the Ministry of Electricity suggested that it was investigating a “privatization experiment” which would provide citizens with electricity for 24 hours in exchange for increased billing. The Ministry stated that citizens would pay 80% less with this service than they would using private generators. Recently, there have been rumors that Parliament was looking to formally interrogate the Minister of Electricity on claims of corruption.


DateLocationDeathsInjuries
11/10/16Nafaq al-Shurta, West Baghdad10
11/10/16Taji, North Baghdad38
11/10/16Albu Alwan, West of Fallujah2Unknown
11/10/16Dora, South Baghdad29
11/09/16Tarmiya, North Baghda
11/09/16Sharwain, East of Baquba
11/09/16Madain, South of Baghdad12
11/09/16Abu Dshir, South Baghdad19
11/09/16Taji, North Baghdad14
11/09/16Bayaa, Southwest of Baghdad18
11/09/16Ghazaliya, West Baghdad26
11/08/16Zour, North of Baquba12
11/08/16Amin, East Baghdad 29
11/08/16Dayiniyah, East of Baquba10
11/08/16Baghdad Al Jadeeda, East Baghdad17
11/08/16Allawi, Central Baghdad 06
11/08/16Ur, East Baghdad27
11/08/16Ghazaliya, West Baghdad10
11/08/16Arab Ejbur, South Baghdad15
11/07/16Muthanna, Central Baghdad01
11/07/16Fudhaliyah, East Baghdad25
11/07/16Taji, North Baghdad26
11/07/16Al Jolan, North Fallujah01
11/07/16al-Za’franiya, Southeast Baghdad18
11/07/16Rashdiya, North Baghdad 25
11/06/16Dora, South Baghdad19
11/06/16Bayaa, Southwest Baghdad27
11/06/16Hosseinia, North of Baghdad 18
11/06/16Pasmaya, Southeast of Baghdad16
11/06/16Iskan, West Baghdad16
11/06/16Shishen, South of Tikrit 1533
11/06/16Shishen, South of Tikrit 36
11/06/16Samarra, South of Tikrit1014
11/05/16Ameria, West Baghdad 10
11/05/16Gaara, South of Baghdad17
11/05/16Ur, Northeast Baghdad26
11/05/16Al Alam, East of Tikrit207
11/05/16Shaikh Omar, Central Baghdad 36
11/04/16Amin, East Baghdad27
11/04/16Gherai’at, North Baghdad16
11/04/16al-Za’franiya, Southeast Baghdad 28
11/04/16Bour, North of Baghdad16
11/04/16Wazireya, Northeast Baghdad10

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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