News Column

Air Strikes Break Islamic State Siege of Amerli

September 2, 2014

VOA News

Last updated on: September 1, 2014 1:12 PM

Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vows the country will be a "graveyard" for the Islamic State group as he celebrated the liberation of a town from the militants.

Maliki visited the newly-freed town of Amerli Monday, promising to reward Iraqi troops who took it back from those he calls "beasts and killers."

He took a tour of the streets of the town, greeting people and making stops to shake hands with the locals.

Food, water and medicine have been flowing into Amerli since Iraqi forces entered the town Sunday, ending a two-month-long siege by the Islamic State

Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militiamen, backed by U.S. airstrikes, also entered the town of Sulaiman Bek, south of Kirkuk, on Monday, ending three months of control in the area by the Islamic State group, a military source said. The town had been an important militant stronghold.

Sebastian Meyer

September 1, 2014 3:29 PM

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli's residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.

Human rights violations

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday condemned violations committed by Islamic State forces in Iraq that may amount to international crimes and agreed to send a mission to investigate them.

The forum adopted a resolution presented by France and Iraq without a vote, but South Africa's delegation said it disassociated itself from the text as it lacked balance.

"We are facing a terrorist monster," Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the emergency session in Geneva. "Acts by ISIS threaten not only to Iraq but the whole region and world."

The U.N.'s mission to Iraq, known as UNAMI, reported on Monday that more than 1,400 Iraqis were killed by violence or terrorism in August. It added that 1,370 were wounded, including 1,198 civilians.

July's death toll stood at 1,737 people.

Nearly 11,000 Iraqis have been killed so far this year, far outpacing the 9,000 killed in all of 2013.

Also Monday, the United Nations said that at least 1,420 Iraqis were reported killed in violence in August, down from the previous month.

The statement said the figures are the "absolute minimum" number of casualties and they do not include deaths in the western Anbar province or other parts of northern Iraq that have been held by militants for months.

It added: "The actual figures could be significantly higher."

Aid arrives in Amerli

Aid began to flow to Amerli on Monday, a day after security forces backed by Iran-allied Shi'ite militias and U.S. airstrikes broke a two-month siege by Sunni militants on the Turkman Shi'ite town of about 15,000 people.

Ali al-Bayati, who heads local NGO the Turkmen Saving Foundation, said on Monday that four trucks loaded with foodstuffs, medicine and fruit had entered the town.

The aid was sent by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi Red Crescent, he said, adding that soldiers had begun bringing food to families in their houses Sunday night.

"The situation is getting back to normal, but gradually," al-Bayati told The Associated Press. "Some people have come out from their houses and walk in the street. Shops are still closed, but people are happy to see their city secured by Iraqi security forces."

On Sunday, the U.S. military dropped thousands of liters of drinking water and thousands of meals over the town. More aid was dropped from British, French and Australian planes.

US airstrikes continue

U.S. military forces continued to attack Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, conducting three airstrikes Sunday and Monday near the Mosul Dam.

Officials said the strikes destroyed several vehicles and a mortar position near the dam.

U.S. Central Command said it has conducted a total of 123 airstrikes across Iraq.

On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament that "Britain supports U.S. military airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq." He added that Britain needs new anti-terror laws to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State and British nationals who are fighting with or supporting the group.

Cameron called for laws that would allow police to seize the passports of British citizens suspected of having traveled overseas to fight with terror groups. He said it was believed that 500 people have traveled from Britain to fight in Iraq and Syria.

Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from the Pentagon. Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

-----

Original headline: US Air Strikes Help Iraqi Forces Break IS Siege of Amerli


For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel



Source: (c) 2012 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters