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ISIS Besieging Civilians Delays Liberation of Its Final Stronghold in Iraq

ISIS Besieging Civilians Delays Liberation of Its Final Stronghold in Iraq

Thursday, 9 November, 2017 - 10:45
Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) advance towards the city of al-Qaim, Iraq November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed its concern for the fate of innocents besieged inside Rawa, last ISIS' stronghold in Iraq.

Military observers believe that the presence of civilians inside the city might force the security forces to change their military tactics in launching the liberation operation.

OHCHR added that “according to the detecting sources at the commission’s offices in Anbar, ISIS terrorists are still holding nearly 2500 families, equivalent to 10,000 individuals, to use them as human shields and hamper the advance of Iraqi forces”.

The commission said ISIS militants have prevented civilians from reaching safe routes created by Iraqi security forces for their evacuation.

The commission asked the Federal government and security forces to increase humanitarian efforts to create safe passages for the civilians to leave the city. It also requested the local Anbar government to manage the crisis and ensure relief aid and humanitarian support to all civilians who escaped Rawa siege. It also urged to expedite liberation operations and secure humanitarian needs from local and world relief organizations.

Since then, there have been conflicting reports on whether Rumana subdistrict of al-Qaim district was really liberated or not.

The official website of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) announced the launch of liberation operations of Rumana, which was later denied by the joint operations' leadership.

Following the statement, the website said that the news published earlier appeared by mistake. Contradicting news between the operations' leadership and PMF indicate that both parties are in disagreement over priorities and battle management in the west of Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rejected the request of certain PMF-linked parties to increase PMF's allocations in the federal budget, describing it as a fallacy.

Abadi attacked the requests saying they will be used in elections and political parties' bureaus.

In his weekly press conference, the PM said that he has ordered armed forces to fight ISIS, even from within Syrian territory.

Abadi also said that there are joint efforts with Iraq's neighboring countries to protect the borders from any threats posed by ISIS.

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