Iraq preparing for new assault on IS territories

Iraq preparing for new assault on IS territories
2 min read
07 February, 2016
Iraqi forces are planning a 'defensive' mission in Ramadi, which will lay the ground for an eastern offensive against IS forces in Fallujah.
After intial succeesses Iraqi forces have made only plodding advances in Ramadi [AFP]
Iraqi sources have revealed to The New Arab its strategy of capturing territories from the Islamic state group after initial successes against the extremists in Ramadi.

A spokesperson for Hikmat Sulayman, Anbar's governor, told The New Arab's Arabic newspaper that the outskirts of Ramadi will be fortified leaving Iraqi troops to head east to Fallujah, which remains under IS control.

This will take place after Iraqi forces and tribal groups retake the last districts of Ramadi to stay in the hands of IS militants.

Iraqi tribal leader Ammar al-Issawi said that after an initial rapid advance from anti-IS forces in Ramadi, fighters have been slowed down from securing remaining areas of the city due to booby traps left behind by the militants.

IS captured Ramadi in May 2015, in a surprise attack, but were forced back by a joint Iraqi and tribal alliance at the end of the year.

Reprisals

Baghdad used a large number of local tribes rather than controversial Shia militias, however this did not spare the largely Sunni population from reprisal attacks. 

Iraqi authorities failed to protect civilians from reprisals from Shia militias in January, Amnesty International alleged on Friday.

The human rights group said that a wave of punitive attacks were launched on the homes of the Sunni community in and around the city of Muqdadiya.

Researchers documented abductions and killings in the town after IS launched a bomb attack on Shia civilians killing at least 27 people.

Many homes were looted and burned to the ground in reprisals by the Shia militias.

"Instead of holding Shia militias to account the authorities have turned a blind eye to this shocking rampage. In some cases abductions and killings took place in full view of local authorities, who failed to intervene," said James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East North Africa programme.

"We are calling on the Iraqi government to take immediate and concrete measures to prevent further attacks on the Sunni community and ensure those responsible for these war crimes are brought to justice."