See also: Iraq – A Peoples Photo Journal
Children make their way to school past war-damaged walls in Jalawla. Photograph: Abbie Trayler-Smith for the Guardian
While the battle for Mosul rages, residents are returning to the ghost town of Jalawla. Can they rebuild their lives after a year of occupation?
On the evening of 11 August 2014, Assam Dara Ali was at home in Jalawla, southern Iraq. His wife, Teba, was putting their two young children to bed; meanwhile, Kurdish officials in Erbil were beginning to report that Jalawla had fallen to Isis. “Suddenly we heard cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, God is greatest, from the mosque,” Assam tells me. Isis was broadcasting its takeover message from the minarets, visible from the family’s courtyard.
In the preceding months, fighters had seized large swaths of Iraq: the city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the western towns of Sinjar and Makhmour, as well as Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The newly declared caliphate of Islamic State was expanding by the day.
Assam’s eight-year-old daughter, Hanin, had heard the same call of “Allahu Akbar” at night before, when the imam announced the end of Ramadan – a time of celebration with presents, feasting and sweets. “Daddy,” she said, running to her father in great excitement, “is it Eid?”
Assam told Teba and the children to hide under the stairs. “We stayed awake all night. We were afraid they would come into the house and kill us.” People began loading up minivans and cars, escaping along the backroads Isis soldiers wouldn’t know. Assam and his family left early the next morning, heading for Teba’s parents’ home in Baghdad. “We called neighbours and they told us which way was safe,” he says. There was only time to take their identity cards.
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The United Nations General Assembly began talks on Friday on a draft resolution that would demand an end to fighting in Syria amid frustration by some states and rights groups over U.N. Security Council deadlock on the nearly six-year conflict.
More than a third of the 193-member General Assembly this week asked for a formal meeting to be held on Syria. Diplomats said the meeting was likely to be held next week, when the Canadian-drafted resolution could be put to a vote.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, but can carry political weight.
“We believe that it is necessary for the General Assembly to express it collective will in accordance with the U.N. Charter and to take actions on the situation in Syria,” Canada, Costa Rica, Japan and the Netherlands wrote to General Assembly President Peter Thomson on behalf of 74 countries.
The draft resolution would express outrage at the escalation of violence in Syria, particularly in Aleppo, where the United Nations says more than 250,000 people have been trapped for months. It would demand aid access, an end to indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and an end to sieges.
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Irbil, Iraq, Nearly 2,000 Iraqi troops were killed across Iraq in November as they battled to force ISIS extremists from the country, according to newly released UN figures.
That’s nearly triple the number of military casualties reported in October, when an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS first began.
The toll for November includes Iraqi army, police in combat, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and allied militias.
The Iraqi-led coalition forces’ advance slowed after Iraqi Security Forces entered Mosul last month, a densely populated urban environment where troops have had to fight street-to-street battles against deeply entrenched militants.
Civilians in the city also are paying a heavy price.
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“We answer your call, O Hussein!”
The traditional battle cry of Shi’ite Muslims, expressing loyalty to the 7th century martyred hero of their sect, has been spraypainted across buildings in Mosul by soldiers as they push out the hardline Sunni fighters of Islamic State.
Troops and commanders say the slogan, sometimes sprayed over Islamic State’s own graffiti, is meant to be an expression of victory for all Iraqis. But for many residents of the multi-ethnic but predominantly Sunni Muslim city, it is an explicitly sectarian taunt from the country’s Shi’ite majority, signaling more violence to come.
“Look at this. The army should be neutral and not painting such things on walls,” said Abdullah Shuwaib, a Sunni blacksmith who fled the fighting, pointing to a Shi’ite slogan painted next to a nearby grocery shop. “I’m not optimistic. Iraq won’t improve after Daesh is gone.”
Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, considers all Shi’ite Muslims heretics who must repent or die. It declared a Sunni caliphate in 2014 after sweeping through the third of Iraq’s territory where Arab Sunnis predominate, executing Shi’ite soldiers who failed to flee in time.
The militants were initially welcomed by some Sunnis who saw them as protectors from a Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad.
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PENTAGON — U.S. General John Nicholson, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said the biggest challenges facing Afghanistan next year are leadership and corruption in the Afghan military.
“These do plague some portions of the Afghan security forces, and what it has led to is a poor sustainment of soldiers in the field,” Nicholson said at the Pentagon Friday.
The general said ineffectiveness and corruption in the supply system have left some Afghan soldiers on outposts without water, food or the ammunition they need to fight.
Nicholson said he has spoken “very frankly” with Afghan military and government leaders about these problems and will focus on implementing solutions, including the replacement of corrupt leaders, during the winter campaign.
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Taliban militants hanged a university student in public in a village west of Kabul after accusing him of involvement in the death of a senior Taliban official, a local government spokesman said on Saturday.
Abdul Rahman Mangal said Faiz ul Rahman Wardak, a fourth-year student at Kabul Polytechnic University, was hanged in Sewaka village in Chak district, 60 km (37 miles) outside the Afghan capital.
He said local Taliban insurgents accused him of being involved in the assassination of a Taliban intelligence official named Mullah Mirwais.
“He wanted to spend his holiday at home but was captured on Thursday by local Taliban and they hanged him in public,” Mangal said. “As soon as we got information, we tried to help him but the Taliban hanged him immediately.”
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By Khaama Press on 03 Dec 2016 11:57am – No Comments
The civilians in southern Kandahar province suffered heavy casualties during a 4-day clash that ended on Thursday night. According to the local government officials, the clashes took place in Nish district between the Afghan forces and the Taliban insurgents. Provincial police spokesman Zia Durani said the Taliban insurgents were forced to leave the district after
By Khaama Press on 03 Dec 2016 10:42am – No Comments
The Taliban insurgents have publicly executed a university student in Maida Wardak province, located near capital Kabul in central parts of the country. The student was reportedly hanged to death after accusing him of working for the government. According to reports, the university student was on his way to meet his family when he was
By Ghanizada on 03 Dec 2016 10:05am – No Comments
The top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were put to the test and prevailed during the 2016 fighting season. Gen. Nicholson who is also in command of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission, said the Afghan forces went into 2016 with a campaign plan
By Khaama Press on 03 Dec 2016 8:24am – No Comments
The US President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to discus issues of bilateral interest, including the joint fight against terrorism, it has been reported. The Trump transition team informed regarding the discussions between President Ghani and President-elect Trump, according to Reuters. “The two men discussed the grave terrorism threats facing
By Khaama Press on 02 Dec 2016 6:12pm – No Comments
At least 3 people were wounded in a magnetic bomb explosion in West of Kabul city earlier this evening, security officials said. The officials further added that the incident took place in the 3rd police district of the city after a magnetic bomb planted in a police vehicle went off in Golayi Dawa Khana
Iraq Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians
Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation
Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge, Virginia, died Nov. 24 in northern Syria, of wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast. He was assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two, which is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Spc. Ronald L. Murray Jr., of Bowie, Maryland, died Nov. 10, in Kuwait in a non-combat related incident. Murray was assigned to 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas…assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky…died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. The incident is under investigation.
Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Ariz…assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky…died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. The incident is under investigation.
Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Lawrence, Kan…assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky…died Nov. 4 in Jafr, Jordan, of wounds sustained when their convoy came under fire entering a Jordanian military base. The incident is under investigation.
Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians
Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation
Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt, 20, of Tamaroa, Illinois..assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas…died Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Sgt. John W. Perry, 30, of Stockton, California…assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas…died Nov. 12 of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Pennsylvania…assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colorado…died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, North Carolina…assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colorado…died Nov. 3 in Kunduz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while engaging enemy forces.
Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died Oct. 20 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces. Sauro was assigned to the Defense Ammunition Center, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Oklahoma.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of one soldier and one Department of Army civilian employee who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview, Illinois, and Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died Oct. 20 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces.
Riney was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Sauro was assigned to the Defense Ammunition Center, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Oklahoma.
Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, of Takoma Park, Maryland, died Oct. 4 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device that exploded during dismounted operations. The incident is under investigation.
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