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Iraq Human Rights & Security Update

For the week Sept. 30 - Oct. 06/16

From the EPIC news organization the ISHM writeup.


Tensions Rise as Turkish Troops Remain in Northern Iraq – On October 6, Iraq called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to adjudicate the presence of unwanted Turkish troops in northern Iraq who have been stationed there since ISIS emerged in 2014. On October 1, Turkey’s Parliament voted to extend the presence of Turkish forces in Iraq for a year, a decision that was met with vehement opposition by Iraq’s Parliament. Turkey claims its military is in Iraq at the invitation of Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani and will remain in place to assist with impending operations to clear the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. Iraq’s Parliament passed a resolution this week calling for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq, reconsideration of trade and economic relations with Turkey, and calling for the Iraqi government to take all legal measure to ensure Iraq’s sovereignty. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained defiant after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that he is unwilling to resort to military force against Turkish troops, but warned of “regional conflict” if the troops remain. 
Fighting and Resistance in Hawija Intensifies as Kirkuk Allows Some to Return – According to anonymous sources in Kirkuk Province, the U.S.-led international coalition has ramped up airstrikes in Hawija, an ISIS stronghold 60 kilometers southwest of the city of Kirkuk. Approximately 800 IDPs fleeing Hawija arrived at the Nazrawa and Laylan IDP camps in Kirkuk between September 29 and October 2 and more than 700 IDP families were transported to Laylan Camp from a checkpoint outside of Hawija where they had been held by security forces for several days. Tragically, at least 17 children were kidnapped by ISIS militants while attempting to escape Hawija with their families. (Read more about the situation in Hawija and why it has been ignored.) Meanwhile, the UNHCR reported that buses are transporting returnees to Sharqat in Salah ad-Din and that over 15,000 IDPs have left the Debaga Camp in Erbil Province since the beginning of September, mostly bound for Qayyarah. Overcrowded camps with scarce resources are seen as the motivating factor for IDPs seeking to return to their places of origin, even though security, food, water, and access to medical care are considerably inadequate in many of those locations. 
Iraqi Security Forces, Allies Target Resurgent Presence of ISIS in Anbar – On October 1, Head of the District Council in Hit, Mohammed Mohannad al-Hiti, ordered the evacuation of the city in preparation for clearing the District of ISIS militants. After at least 170 families were evacuated, security forces assisted by U.S.-led international coalition air support attacked ISIS targets, resulting in the death of several dozen ISIS militants, and detection or confiscation of 500 IEDs, artillery shells, barrel bombs, Katyusha rockets, and other ammunition. Iraqi and coalition forces also targeted insurgents elsewhere in Anbar Province, including in nearby Ramadi. 
Airstrikes Contribute to Progress as ISIS Frustration Mounts in Mosul – As U.S.-led international coalition airstrikes continued to target ISIS positions and infrastructure in and around Mosul, reports of ISIS leadership inside the city showing signs of desperation grew. According to security sources in Ninewa Province, ISIS cut the ears off of 25 of their own militants who were attempting to flee Mosul and have ordered shop owners inside the city to keep their shops open or be subject to “a penalty in front of the people.” PUK Media reported that 12 ISIS militants were killed in clashes among themselves in Akhdar, 80 kilometers south of Mosul, and in Sharqat, at least one ISIS militant turned himself in to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Also this week, an anonymous security source indicated that a coalition airstrike may have accidentally killed 18 members of an Iraqi PMU in western Qayyarah. The coalition was providing air support for ground operations when the incident occurred. 
International Aid Groups and Governments Address Humanitarian Crisis, Mosul Plans – The UNHCR issued a report on its preparations for the wave of mass displacements that will accompany efforts to clear the city of Mosul of ISIS militants. According to the report, UNHCR will expand and build new IDP camps and pre-position emergency supplies and shelter kits to assist the expected outflow once fighting inside of the city commences. 11 camps are nearing completion and altogether, should accommodate 120 thousand individuals. Iraqi government camps can currently shelter 150 thousand. Added together, this capacity to temporarily house 270 thousand IDPs remains far short of the estimated 1.2 million who may need to be sheltered. 
Minister Candidate Names Expected Soon; New Ambassadors Announced – Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has yet to submit a list of candidates for the vacant cabinet positions, which he said would be released this week. Currently, the Defense, Finance, Interior, and Trade and Industry Minister positions are vacant. The Defense and Finance Ministers were ousted on charges of corruption in August, and the Interior and Trade and Industry Ministers resigned their positions in July. Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who Parliament may soon question on corruption charges, announced the appointment of eight new ambassadors this week, including Dr. Fareed Mustafa Kamel Yassin as Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States.  more

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