ISHM: April 7 – 13, 2017

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Key Takeaways:

  • Iraqi Kurdish Political Parties Come Together on Independence Referendum as Kirkuk Tensions Simmer – On April 11, the political leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) announced a joint conference in Erbil to discuss Kurdish independence, following an April 10 meeting between PUK, KDP, and Turkmen officials. The question of Kurdish independence further complicates the ongoing debate regarding Kirkuk Province’s future status in Iraq. The PUK/KDP negotiations come as tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government in Baghdad continue to simmer regarding the Kurdish flag-raising in Kirkuk (as previously reported in ISHM), which is not formally part of the Kurdistan Region. On the same day Kurdish political parties announced their conference, the police in Daquk district of Kirkuk Province raised the KRG flag over all government offices – fueling a growing political crisis regarding Kirkuk’s status after ISIS is defeated. On April 12, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi addressed Kurdish actions, stating that it would be “impossible” to hold a fair referendum regarding Kirkuk’s future, as significant territory there remains under ISIS control. more…
  • ISIS Executes Civilians Fleeing Western Mosul as Displacement Rates Increase – On April 7, ISIS reportedly executed dozens of civilians who had been trying to flee militant-held territory in western Mosul, following reports that an additional 140 civilians had been executed the week before. Two days later, ISIS snipers killed at least 25 civilians as they fled through a safe corridor established by Iraqi Security Forces; an anonymous military source noted that nearly 50 civilians are wounded each day by improvised explosive devices and other ISIS-related activity. This statement is supported by an April 8 World Health Organization report that 300 new trauma cases had been treated at five hospitals in Ninewa Province between 27 March and 8 April. As civilian casualty rates increase inside Mosul, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that displacement from western Mosul continued at a steady rate of 5,000 individuals per day, despite the dangers faced by those attempting to flee. To receive this growing IDP population, the UNHCR announced that it had opened the Hamam al-Alil 2 camp, 25 kilometers south of Mosul, which can host up to 15,000 individuals. The recent civilian exodus brings the total number of people displaced from Mosul to 327,432 since October 2016, with a sharp increase of 13,164 IDPs since April 6. more…
  • Military Operations Push into Western Mosul as Talk of Tal Afar Liberation Grows – Over the past week, Iraqi Security Forces have continued their slow push into ISIS-held western Mosul. The Iraqi Army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service cleared al-Mutahin and al-Abar neighborhoods in western Mosul, as Federal Police cut ISIS supply routes around the al-Nouri Mosque. The same day, the Ninewa Provincial Security Council announced that 75% of western Mosul was now under Iraqi government control. Meanwhile, operations against ISIS positions elsewhere in Ninewa Province continue. The Army’s Ninth Armored Division cleared the towns of Old Rihaniya, New Rihaniya, Ghazeluya, Tal Asfur, and Shubita, as Iraqi aircraft targeted ISIS positions in Tal Afar. more…
  • Humanitarian and Security Conditions in Hawija Continue to Deteriorate – On April 12, ISIS militants executed 12 prisoners on the outskirts of Hawija in Kirkuk Province. The killings highlight the deteriorating humanitarian conditions inside the besieged town, where tens of thousands of civilians are reportedly living under constant threat of ISIS violence, as well as severe shortages of water, electricity, food, and medicine. Hawija has been under siege since summer 2016. more…
  • Civilians Return Home in Diyala, Local Officials Decry Social Impact of Displacement on Province’s Youth – On April 11, over 500 displaced families started to return home in Jalawla, 88 kilometers north of Baquba in Diyala Province. Civilian returns come as fighting between ISIS militants and Popular Mobilization Units continues across the province. Meanwhile, a member of the Diyala Provincial Council reported that at least 100 displaced primary school students had lost a year of school due to “government negligence,” and decried Baghdad’s inability to implement temporary measures to reach displaced students. more…
  • Medium- and Long-Term Humanitarian Challenges Threaten post-ISIS Stabilization – Humanitarian and civil society organizations identified several systemic challenges facing post-ISIS reconstruction and reconciliation. On April 10, Dr. Karzan Jalal Shah, director of the Erbil Psychiatric Hospital, reported that Iraq’s mental health care system is unable to treat thousands of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, depression, and other mental health conditions as a result of their experiences under ISIS rule. Meanwhile, the World Food Program reported that 53% of residents and 66% of IDPs throughout the country are vulnerable to food insecurity, with the greatest threat of food insecurity in southern Iraq. more…
  • Moqtada al-Sadr Condemns U.S. Actions in Syria, Mike Pence Reaffirms Commitment to Iraq’s Counter-ISIS Fight – On April 8, influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demanded that the United States and Russia withdraw from Syria and that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign. The same day, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to discuss U.S. support for Iraq’s fight against ISIS, planning for post-ISIS Iraq, and responding to the chemical weapons attack in Syria. more…

For more background on most of the institutions, key actors, political parties, and locations mentioned in our takeaways or in the stories that follow, see the ISHM Reference Guide.


Iraqi Kurdish Political Parties Come Together on Independence Referendum as Kirkuk Tensions Simmer

On April 9, an anonymous security source reported that approximately 750 ISIS militants have withdrawn from the front lines around Hawija. The source stated that 200 young fighters or “cubs” are now facing Peshmerga forces from the frontlines southwest of Kirkuk City, placed in the positions the fleeing militants left.

On April 11, the political leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) announced that they will hold a conference in Erbil to discuss the upcoming referendum on Kurdish independence. This comes after both the PUK and KDP hosted a meeting with 11 Turkmen parties on April 10 about Kurdish independence. Adnan Mufti, a member of the PUK leadership, confirmed Turkmen support for the referendum, claiming that after Kurdish politicians promised Turkmen their rights would not only be protected, but expanded, the Turkmen parties offered their support. The Turkmen also stated their approval of the raising of the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk, arguing that Kirkuk should be part of Kurdistan. Additionally, Qubad Talabani, the Vice President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) affirmed the Kurdish people’s right to a legitimate referendum. On April 9, Rozh Nuri Shaways, a member of the committee leading the call for a referendum, stated that all Kurdish political factions need to come together to support the initiative, and that any steps toward independence need to be transparent and clear. On April 11, Dr. Najmadin Karim, the Governor of Kirkuk, replied to accusations that parliamentarians were seeking to oust him as a result of the referendum and raising of the Kurdish flag at government buildings, stating that they lacked the power to do so and that a clear majority of Iraqis elected him as the legitimate leader of Kirkuk.

On April 11, the Directorate of Police in Daquk, a district in Southern Kirkuk, raised the Kurdish flag on all district government offices. Continuing the upward trend of Turkmen support for Kirkuk’s decision to show its ties to Kurdistan, the Turkmen parties in Daquq confirmed their approval. PUK News also reports that some Arabs have voiced their agreement with raising the Kurdish flag, but this remains uncorroborated.

On April 12, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi commented on the potential referendum on Kirkuk joining Kurdistan, claiming that it would be “impossible” to hold a fair vote in the province as some regions are still controlled by ISIS. Any electoral outcome in this situation would not be completely democratic because not everyone affected will be able to vote. As an alternative, Abadi called for increased levels of discussion between high level Kurdish officials and his cabinet, claiming that Iraq would be stronger united and that any problem should be solved diplomatically.

On April 12, Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a meeting with the British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa Region Tobias Elwood to discuss a few important developments. The officials discussed British involvement in the KRG’s efforts against ISIS and in developing the region economically. They also touched upon the looming referendum on Kurdish statehood and Kirkuk’s position as an Iraqi or Kurdish region.

On April 12, Iraq’s ruling coalition, the National Alliance, held a meeting with representatives from Turkmen parties in Kirkuk and Kurdistan on the possibility of a referendum as well as whether or not they viewed Kirkuk as part of Kurdistan or Iraq. According to reports, the Turkmen expressed concerns about their rights being guaranteed if the situation were to change, and recommended that a “committee of experts” be formed to help negotiate a less extreme to the problem at hand.


ISIS Executes Civilians Fleeing Western Mosul as Displacement Rates Increase

April 7 April 8 April 9 April 10 April 11 April 12 April 13
Total IDPs No data No data  320,496 No data  322,248 No data  327,432
Daily Net Change No data No data +6,228 No data +1,752 No data +5,184

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

On April 7, Reuters reported that Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants executed “dozens” of civilians as they tried to flee western Mosul. The Kurdistan Region Security Council estimated that as many as 140 civilians were executed on April 3 and 4. A Mosul resident spoke with Reuters via a mobile phone and reported that he found the body of one of his relatives and three other victims hanging from an electricity pole in the Tenek district in western Mosul, adding,“Their appearance was shocking. We weren’t able to get them down and they have been there for two days.” A resident in the Old City reported that a family of six, including an elderly woman, was executed as they tried to flee the city. A woman from the Yarmouk district in western Mosul narrowly escaped the city with her family after ISIS militants intercepted her group. She noted, “They took our bags thinking there was gold or money in them and as they were busy checking the contents, we fled through the houses taking advantage of the pitch darkness,” added, “I fear those (families) who stayed in Daesh’s grip met a terrible fate.”

On April 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 300 new trauma cases were treated across five hospitals including Athba and Bartalla Field Hospitals, Emergency, West Emergency and Shikhan hospitals between March 27 and April 8, bringing the total number of trauma patients from western Mosul who were treated at those hospitals to 1,861. Of those cases, 73% were civilians, 27% were children under the age of 15, and 27% were females. To date, more than 6,000 patients were referred to hospitals in Mosul and the surrounding area, of which 60% were civilians, and 28% were children under the age of 15. Most patients were treated for “head, neck and spinal injuries caused by shrapnel and gunshot wounds.” The WHO cites lack of fuel for ambulances and limited access to newly-cleared areas of Mosul as major obstacles to providing timely responses to emergencies.  

On April 9, ISIS militants killed at least 25 civilians as they fled western Mosul through the Abu Zeian street, a “safe corridor” that the ISF established to help civilians evacuate western Mosul. Abu Omar al-Hayali, a resident of western Mosul, used the Abu Zeian safe corridor to escape the city and reported that ISIS snipers target civilians who flee ISIS-controlled areas adding, “I saw a woman and a young man in his twenties land in front of me because of the sniper. I hid my family for twenty minutes behind the wall of a concrete to escape the sniper. After that we were able to pass the danger zone with the help of Iraqi Security Forces.” A source in western Mosul reported that at least 50 civilians are wounded each day due to ISIS improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mortars; however, it is difficult to glean accurate casualty figures as many wounded civilians are not able to reach hospitals, and in many cases, the dead are immediately buried.

On April 9, Christian civilians celebrated Palm Sunday for the first time in three years in Qaraqosh, an Assyrian city located 20 kilometers southeast of Mosul. Before ISIS militants overran the city in 2014, Qaraqosh hosted the largest Christian population in Iraq. ISIS militants gave Christians the ultimatum of paying taxes, converting, or being executed, prompting those who could escape to flee to nearby Erbil. Despite the city being cleared of ISIS militants in October 2016 as part of the campaign to clear Mosul, most residents have not returned due to the mass amount of destruction. However, hundreds of Christians from Erbil celebrated Palm Sunday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Qaraqosh, where ISIS graffiti stains the church’s walls, and remnants of prayer books remain littered on the floor. With an escort of soldiers, the congregation marched through the streets of Qaraqosh holding banners stating, “In times of war we bring peace.”

On April 10, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that displacement from western Mosul continues at a steady rate of 5,000 individuals per day, despite the risks associated with trying to flee the city. Civilians risk being caught in the crossfire, targeted by ISIS snipers, or injured by IEDs and other hazards. The newly-opened Jadah 5 camp, 65 kilometers south of Mosul, is rapidly nearing capacity, now hosting over 28,000 individuals; however, two camps under construction, Hamam al-Alil 2 and as-Salamiya 2, will be able to host over 15,000 families, or 90,000 individuals, upon completion. The overall security environment in eastern Mosul is becoming more stable, and over 7,000 individuals have returned to eastern Mosul since March 31. The UNHCR requested US$ 578 million to support internally displaced persons (IDP) and Iraqi refugees in the region. Of the funds requested, only 18% has been funded, leaving a US$ 474 million gap.  

On April 10, mayor of Sinjar Mahma Khalil reported that a mass grave of Yazidi victims was discovered in Sinjar, 127 kilometers west of Mosul. The grave contains the corpses of 1,646 individuals, bringing the total number of Yazidi mass graves to 31. Khalil estimates that this figure will increase to 50.

On April 11, IDPs from western Mosul spoke with Voice of America journalists about the civilian costs of the operation to clear the city of ISIS militants. Umm Abdul-Rahman’s 10-year-old daughter was struck by mortar shrapnel in Mosul, damaging part of her brain and leaving her unable to speak. Umm Abdul-Rahman and her family were caught in the crossfire as they fled western Mosul. Residents report that militarized police units have participated in much of the fight to clear western Mosul, adding that their lack of experience in urban warfare is potentially putting civilians at greater risk. Col. Ahmed Shawki, a military analyst and retired Iraqi army officer explained, “They see resistance and implement a carpet-bombing approach to advance. They do this to reduce their own casualties. This is disastrous for the civilians.” Dr. Shalan Ali, the Health Ministry official in Ninewa province, estimated that at least 1,000 civilians have been killed in the operation to clear western Mosul since it began on February 19. In eastern Mosul, 1,600 civilians were killed during the entire operation. Drone footage from the Associated Press shows “entire streets reduced to rubble, with deep craters dug up by airstrikes” in western Mosul while eastern Mosul has remained “generally preserved” with damage “concentrated to individual buildings and road junctions.” Alaa Hassan, 27, from the New Mosul neighborhood, reported that ISIS militants plant bombs in the street in order to deter civilians from fleeing. Militants also force civilians to remain in their homes, using them as human shields. Hassan explained, “They told us, stay in the house, you can’t get out. One of them even said, you have to stay until it is destroyed. No one can leave.”  

On April 12, the UNHCR opened the Hamam al-Alil 2 camp, 25 kilometers south of Mosul. The camp already hosts 500 IDPs and has the capacity to host up to 15,000. Upon completion of the second phase of construction, the camp will have a total capacity for up to 30,000 IDPs. This camp is particularly important as it will allow IDPs from western Mosul to resettle closer to the city, rather than fleeing to camps northeast of Mosul, and it will alleviate the burden of having to host thousands of IDPs at the Hamam al-Alil transit center. UNHCR’s Iraq Representative, Bruno Geddo stated, “Hammam al-Alil 2 camp has opened as the number of people fleeing West Mosul continues to increase. Up to half a million people are thought to remain in the western sector of the city and we fear that there could yet be more large outflows of people fleeing Mosul. We are working around the clock to prepare more camps and have more shelters available for families who arrive exhausted, hungry, thirsty and often traumatised.” Another IDP camp, Hassan Sham 2, will open in mid-April.  

On April 12, staff of a hospital and morgue in Qayyarah, funded by the Women’s Alliance Health International (WAHA), reported that up to 21 corpses from western Mosul are brought to the morgue each day. One worked noted that corpses of nearly 72 ISIS militants were brought to the morgue each day during the operation to clear eastern Mosul, resulting in a total of approximately 2,000 militants during the three months the operation took place. However, the worker also revealed that, while fewer corpses from western Mosul are brought to the morgue, the vast majority of them are civilians. Displacement from western Mosul has exceeded that of the east, causing civilians to bury their dead in haste in gardens or on the side of the road before fleeing the city. Corpses that are brought to the morgue often come in body bags, wrapped in blankets, or stored in sacks and brought in multiple pieces. Dr. Modhar Alomary, head of the morgue, anticipates that more corpses will come through the morgue once the operation to clear western Mosul is completed. Not only will families unearth graves made in haste to provide their family members with proper burials, but work to unearth mass graves will begin.

On April 13, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 327,432 IDPs are displaced from Mosul and the surrounding area since operations to clear the city of ISIS militants began on October 17, 2016, a net increase of 13,164 IPDs since April 6. Sixty percent of IDPs from Mosul and the surrounding area are housed in emergency camps, 26% live in private settings, 12% live in emergency sites, 1% live in critical shelter arrangements, and 1% are unaccounted for. Cumulatively, 424,560 IDPs have been impacted by the crisis in Mosul since it began in October 2016. However, to date 97,128 IDPs have returned to their homes.


Military Operations Push into Western Mosul as Talk of Tal Afar Liberation Grows

On April 7, Ninewa Operations Commander Abdul Amir Yarallah announced that the Ninth Armored Division of the Iraqi Security forces (ISF) cleared the towns of Old Rihaniya, New Rihaniya, and Ghazeluya. The same day, Iraqi airstrikes killed multiple ISIS leaders in the Salam neighborhood of Tal Afar, also destroying eight VBIEDs.

On April 8, U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes killed at least six ISIS officials in the July 17 neighborhood of western Mosul. Among the dead were Russian and Chechen nationals.

On April 8, Belgian authorities announced that the Belgian planes involved in the U.S.-led international coalition will be withdrawn. The announcement follows an investigation of the two Belgian F-16’s involvement in the March 17 airstrikes that killed hundreds of civilians in Mosul.

On April 9, MP for the State of Law Coalition (an alliance of five Shia political parties) Abbas al-Bayati stated that he expects the operation to clear Tal Afar (75 kilometers west of Mosul) to begin by the end of the month. He reported that there are still strategic decisions to make, but that political machinations are slowing down the planning process, as many groups have various political interests in controlling the city. .

On April 9, Counter-terrorism forces (CTS) cleared the neighborhood of al-Mutahin in western Mosul. The same day, Federal Police cut 60% of ISIS supply routes in and around the al-Nouri Mosque, as ISF continue to prepare to retake the landmark.  

On April 9, the Ninewa Province Security Council released a statement stating that 75% of western Mosul is now under Iraqi government control, and that the ISF are poised to continue clearing Old Mosul. Committee Chairman Mohammed al-Bayati said that the operation has slowed down in order to better protect civilians caught in the middle of the fight.

On April 10, PMU fighters reported destroying 10 ISIS vehicles filled with ammunition destined for Tal Afar. PMUs have Tal Afar besieged as they wait for the word to clear the city of ISIS militants.  

On April 10, the Military Media Cell reported that Iraqi air strikes in western Mosul killed multiple ISIS IED experts and destroyed an ISIS IED factory. The Military Intelligence body provided the necessary information to the Air Force, who carried out the strikes on the location in the Wadi Ekab area of Mosul.

On April 11, Federal Police seized a cache of weapons that included roughly 1,000 Katyusha rockets and enough chemicals to make 100 IEDs. The stache was found in the Bab Jadeed area of Old Mosul.

On April 13, Ninewa Operations Commander Abdul Amir Yarallah announced that the Ninth Armored Division of the ISF cleared the towns of Tal Asfur and Shubita (30 kilometers northwest of Mosul), taking control of the south bank of the Tigris. The same day, CTS cleared the al-Abar neighborhood of western Mosul.


Humanitarian and Security Conditions in Hawija Continue to Deteriorate

On April 9, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants executed 12 prisoners on the outskirts of Hawija, 66 kilometers west of Kirkuk. ISIS militants opened fire on the prisoners in the presence of ISIS security official Saadoun Marshad Humairi.

On April 9, internally displaced persons (IDP) who escaped Hawija reported that threats faced by “tens of thousands” of civilians included (in addition to ISIS violence) lack of water, electricity, food, and medicine. One resident reported that women and children scavenge for food or eat wild plants and bread made with barley because flour and wheat are extremely difficult to come by. Another resident reported that she escaped the city with her paralyzed son because he no longer had access to his life-saving medication. She also reported that her son now suffers from mental health issues as a result of being forced to watch public executions.


Civilians Return Home in Diyala, Local Officials Decry Social Impact of Displacement on Province’s Youth

On April 7, Diyala Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) repelled an attack on a security checkpoint near Sadiyah, 65 kilometers northeast of Baquba in Diyala Province. Meanwhile, the mayor of the Sadiyah area confirmed that militants launched five mortar shells at a residential neighborhood in Sadiyah, causing no casualties.

On April 7, PMU fighters ambushed a group of ISIS militants, killing three. The attack took place in the Maqalaa area 45 kilometers east of Baquba. The same day, militants attacked a security point near the town of al-Duwalib, 45 kilometers northeast of Baquba, where security forces killed two of the militants.

On April 7, Diyala Council member Omar Mazahim al-Jubouri warned civilians of increasing ISIS night raids in the Qara Tepe area, 120 kilometers northeast of Baquba. Calling the attacks “psychological warfare,” Jubouri described ISIS as wanting to break the will of Diyala residents.

On April 7, a PMU rocket killed an ISIS official near Hamrin Lake, northeast of Baquba. The same day, in Sadiyah (65 kilometers northeast of Baquba) ISF troops arrested five suspected ISIS militants.

On April 8, militants fired three mortars into towns on the border of Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces. The mortars landed in three different towns, Jizani, Kasiba, and Budija, roughly 20 kilometers northwest of Baquba, but caused no casualties.

On April 8, following multiple militant attacks on April 7, Diyala Member of Parliament Furat al-Tamimi called for “radical solutions” to the issue of sleeper cells in the Province. Describing the increased terrorist activity as an attack civilian morale, Tamimi asked for increased border security for the province. The same day, Operations Commander for the Tigris region Lt. Gen. Mazhar al-Azzawi reported that one of the most important ISIS leaders in Diyala was killed in an ambush east of Baquba yesterday. Azzawi stated that the security situation in Diyala is stable, and that recent attacks do not mean a return to June 2014, when ISIS took control of the area.

On April 9, ISIS militants launched two mortars at a town on the border of Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces, 15 kilometers northwest of Baquba. The mortars did not cause any casualties; however, two IEDs exploded in a neighboring town, killing part of a herd of cattle. Three kilometers north, a mortar attack injured four civilians in Khasib, including two children.

On April 10, Mohammed Davan al-Obeidi, member of the Council of Diyala Province, reported that at least 100 displaced primary school students lost a year of school due to what he described as “government negligence.” Obeidi explained that the federal government did not implement a temporary primary school in the al-Bohanihn internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, 64 kilometers north of Baquba. He stated that the loss of the academic year was a “crime against future generations,” adding that illiteracy is growing in recently cleared areas of Iraq because displaced students are not able to attend school regularly if at all. Obeidi called on the federal government to adopt “non-traditional” methods of solving problems that IDPs face.  

On April 10, security forces in Salah ad-Din fired missiles at ISIS locations in the al-Mutibija area on the border of Salah ad-Din and Diyala Provinces, killing two militants. In al-Zour, south of Mutibija, ISF troops killed one militant in a gun battle.

On April 11, Diyala police dismantled a 10 kilogram explosive found in the village of ad-Walib, 45 kilometers northeast of Baquba. The same day, militants wounded a policeman near Sadiyah, 80 kilometers northeast of Baquba, and launched two mortars into a nearby orchard.

On April 11, over 500 displaced families have started to return to their homes in Jalawla, 88 kilometers north of Baquba. According to local officials, 13,000 families are currently displaced throughout Diyala Province.


Medium- and Long-Term Humanitarian Challenges Threaten post-ISIS Stabilization

On April 10, Dr. Karzan Jalal Shah, director of the Erbil Psychiatric Hospital, reported that Iraq’s mental health care system is failing to support the thousands of patients who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nightmares, depression, and other mental health conditions as a result of living under Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) rule. The Erbil Psychiatric Hospital sees five patients from Mosul each day; however, with only seven psychiatrists who are only paid about a quarter of their salary due to the financial crisis affecting the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the hospital must refer most patients to private organizations for health care. Due to the large number of IDPs who suffer from mental health issues, private organizations cannot facilitate all patients, and many patients cannot afford treatment. Shah estimated, “The rate of the population in Mosul that has been affected during this war, it must be double than in other wars,” adding, “As a result of living under IS rule for two years, not only the war, but the killings, beheadings, cutting off of hands in front of people, everyone will have some kind of psychological symptoms.” Dr. Omed Qadir, senior psychiatrist in the Erbil hospital stated, “There is no adequate mental health support in Iraq. We expect to see higher rates of suicide and self-harm, especially among children.” Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctors report that the required medications to treat mental health issues are often unavailable, and that referrals to private organizations or other hospitals can be complicated because internally displaced persons (IDP) need the proper security clearances in order to pass through checkpoints. MSF mental health activity manager Ana Martins noted that the trauma of displacement and living in poor conditions exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues adding, “They have not experienced one or two traumatic events, but have been continuously exposed to traumatic events and ongoing violence. Now this is showing in symptoms like panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleeping problems and generalised body pain.”

On April 10, the World Food Programme (WFP) reported that 53% of residents and 66% of IDPs are vulnerable to food insecurity, with 2.5% of the population already food insecure. The WFP found that the highest prevalence of food insecurity was in southern Iraq, particularly in northern Muthanna Province, and in some areas of Salah ad-Din Province. Over 75% of children under the age of 15 work to help support their families, rather than going to school. The WFP requires US$113 million to provide “ full monthly food rations and cash-based assistance” for 1.5 million Iraqis until the end of September 2017.

On April 12, the Japanese government donated US$ 4.7 million to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide 130,000 women and girls in Iraq with essential reproductive health services and gender-based violence interventions. Pregnant women fleeing Mosul or other ISIS-controlled areas face the risk of miscarriage and other life-threatening birth complications, and women and girls in previously ISIS-controlled areas had little to no access to reproductive health services. The funds will be used to establish delivery rooms and reproductive health clinics in IDP camps and newly-accessible neighborhoods in western Mosul, and refurbishing existing maternity hospitals and clinics. In addition, UNFPA will establish mental health clinics for survivors of gender-based violence and integrate mental health care and reproductive health care services to ensure that “survivors of gender-based violence receive immediate medical and psychological support.” H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq praised the effort stating, “Japan is keen on reaching out to conflict affected families including women and girls through this assistance, as we are determined to protect the dignity of vulnerable people suffering from the harsh circumstances.”  

On April 13, the UN Habitat, the UN Human Settlements Programme, reported that 1,140 housing sites in western Mosul have been destroyed, confirming that the damage to houses in western Mosul is two and a half times greater than in eastern Mosul. In addition, one third of residential property was destroyed in the al-Jadida neighborhood in western Mosul, the site of the March 17 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that killed hundreds. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, stated “Homes are being destroyed. Schools and health centres are damaged and crucial public infrastructure including electricity and water stations are in ruins,” adding “Under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict are obliged to do everything possible to protect civilians and limit damage to civilian infrastructure. Nothing is more important.”


Moqtada al-Sadr Condemns U.S. Actions in Syria, Mike Pence Reaffirms Commitment to Iraq’s Counter-ISIS Fight

On April 8, influential Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr issued a statement demanding that the United States and Russia withdraw from Syria and that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resign. Sadr claimed that continued American intervention in Syria would be as costly for the United States and civilians as the Vietnam War. Sadr also accused the United States of creating vacuums that helped facilitate ISIS’s rise through favoring one religious or ethnic sect over others.

On April 8, United States Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed United States’ support for Iraq’s war against ISIS in a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The majority of the phone call centered on plans for a post-ISIS Iraq, as well as America’s plans for Syria and how to handle future chemical weapons attacks.


IED Incidents and Resulting Casualties

DateLocationDeathsInjuries
04//13/17Taza Bashir, South of Kirkuk City 01
04/13/17Shaab, North Baghdad02
04/12/17Abu al-Jeer, Southwest of Ramadi82
04/12/17Bob al-Sham, North of Baghdad13
04/11/17Tuz Khurmatu, South of Kirkuk City05
04/11/17Radwaniyah, South of Baghdad02
04/11/17Ekerkof, West of Baghdad03
04/11/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad03
04/10/17Taji, North of Baghdad14
04/09/17Latiyfah, South of Baghdad10
04/08/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad04
04/08/17Tarmiyah, North of Baghdad03
04/08/17Ramadi12
04/08/17Rutba, 310 kilometers West of Ramadi04
04/08/17Malef, South Baghdad10
04/07/17Saidiyah, Northeast of Baquba15
04/07/17Abu Gharib, West of Baghdad15
04/07/17Suwaib, South of Baghdad13

 

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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