‘Vicious Circle of Violence’ in (Liberated) Iraq Claims 500 Civilian Lives in November, 2,000 Casualties in October


Human Wrongs Watch

1 December 2015 – Nearly 500 Iraqi civilians were killed in Iraq last month in a “vicious circle of violence,” ranging from acts of terrorism to armed conflict, as the total number of Iraqi casualties rose to more than 2,100, according to the UN Assistance Mission in the crisis-gripped country.

Families fleeing violence in Ramadi, Anbar province, walk across Bzebiz Bridge into Baghdad province in Iraq. Photo: UNICEF/ Wathiq Khuzaie

In the month of November, the mission, known as UNAMI, reported the number of civilians killed was 489 and the number of civilians injured was 869, with a further 399 members of the Iraqi Security Forces killed and 368 injured.

Baghdad was again the worst affected Governorate with 1,110 civilian casualties (325 killed, 785 injured), Ninewa had 109 killed and 41 injured, while Kirkuk 14 killed and 23 injured, Salahadin 21 killed and 08 injured, and Diyala 16 killed and 11 injured.

UNAMI said it has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas.

For instance, the mission said, it could not obtain the casualty figures for the month of November from Anbar, where fighting for control of the province is raging and lack of access has left tens of thousands of people without humanitarian assistance for more than seven months.

“The Iraqi people continue to suffer from this vicious circle of violence, which has affected all walks of life in this country,” said UN Special Representative for Iraq Ján Kubiš.

“The United Nations deplores the continuing loss of life resulting from acts of terrorism and armed conflict in Iraq.”

On a positive note, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced it had managed to have distributed urgently needed food assistance today, provided by the Government of Iraq, to nearly 70,000 people in two besieged cities of Haditha and Al Baghdadi in the central governorate of Anbar.

Haditha and Al Baghdadi have been under siege since March 2015, severely impairing humanitarian access.

More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by the conflict in Iraq since mid-June last year.

In October, WFP reached over 1.1 million Iraqis who had fled their homes across all 18 governorates with food assistance.

UNAMI also noted in its update issued Monday that it has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care.

“For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum,” the mission said.

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Two small children who fled the escalating violence in Iraq (file photo). UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade

2,000 casualties in October

Acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict killed a total of 714 Iraqis and injured another 1,269 during the month of October, according to casualty figures released on 12 November 2015 by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed was 559, including 25 civilian police, and the number of civilians injured was 1,067, including 43 civilian police, the Mission reported.

A further 155 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army, and 202 were injured.

“Once again, these figures illustrate the suffering of the people of Iraq from terrorism and conflict,” the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, said in a statement.

“I am hopeful that the suffering of the Iraqi people will come to an end with the support of the international community,” he added.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,150 civilian casualties (298 killed, 852 injured). Diyala suffered 92 killed and 141 injured, Ninewa 86 killed, Salahadin 28 killed and 40 injured, and Kirkuk 39 killed and 7 injured.

The report said in general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas, and that it could not obtain the casualty figures for the month of October from the Anbar Health Directorate.

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Children in the Khanke Camp near Dohuk city, Iraq, which mainly houses Yazidis fleeing from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Photo: UNAMI

In addition, in some cases, the Mission could only partially verify certain incidents.

It also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care.

For these reasons, UNAMI noted that the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. (Source: UN).

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2015 Human Wrongs Watch

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