50,000 Iraqi civilians “at great risk” in Falluja

Attacking forces have been ordered by the Iraqi government to preserve the lives of citizens in Falluja Attacking forces have been ordered by the Iraqi government to preserve the lives of citizens in Falluja Reuters

24 May 2016
The attempt to drive ISIS out of Falluja poses a great risk to 50,000 civilians.

Iraqi forces are attempting to reclaim the city of Falluja from ISIS, but at a great risk to  civilians. The air force dropped thousands of leaflets over the city urging civilians to leave, and to raise a white flag over their location in case they are unable to flee.  UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has called for safe corridors to allow civilians to leave.  However, ISIS is preventing them from evacuating along the escape routes as these are riddled with snipers and explosives.

Falluja, which has been controlled by ISIS since January 2014,  was the first Iraqi city to be captured, and has come under almost incessant  attacks and bombings.  The operation to liberate the city, known as “Break Terrorism” would be a crucial step to taking back power from ISIS.

The city has been besieged by Iraqi forces for months, resulting in a dire humanitarian situation for the civilians, who face shortages of food and medicine.  A traditionally Sunni-dominated city to the west of Baghdad, once with a population of 300,000, it is now down to less than a third of that.  It is still unclear if and how long it will take to defeat ISIS, and how many civilians will eventually become victims.

 

To know more, read:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/23/middleeast/isis-falluja-offensive-analysis/index.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36367561
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/world/middleeast/iraq-falluja-isis.html?_r=0
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/iraqi-army-suffers-losses-fallujah-assault-160524111829601.html

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