Ramadi Residents Face Starvation, Daesh Fires on those Who Flee! (Kitabat, Iraq)
"For days now, much of Anbar's population has faced starvation and people in the Ramadi conflict zone have been fleeing in an attempt to cross the Bzeibez Bridge to Baghdad, only to find that Iraqi government forces are forbidding them entry into the capital. After Daesh began executing hundreds of
civilians and members of the security forces as it advanced into central Ramadi, the displaced made their way to the bridge and have
been sleeping out in the open. … Daesh has forbidden
most of the besieged residents in areas under its influence from leaving -
using them as human shields."
For days now, much of Anbar's population has faced starvation and people in the Ramadi conflict zone have been fleeing in an attempt to cross the Bzeibez Bridge to Baghdad, only to find that Iraqi government forces are forbidding them entry into the capital. After Daesh began executing
hundreds of civilians and members of the security forces as it advanced into
central Ramadi, the displaced made their way to the
bridge and have been sleeping out in the open.
Meanwhile, a tiny besieged area east of Fallujah that has
become the only place left for the displaced is unable to accommodate anyone else.
Furthermore, human rights advocates say that over the past three days about 4,000
families facing dire humanitarian circumstances have fled and that a majority have
no shelter. Since Daesh occupied Fallujah at the
beginning of last year the residents of Anbar have
been gradually losing their jobs as most government offices closed and the
trade in land, property and cars stagnated. At the same time, agricultural operations
have to a large extent ceased and Daesh has forbidden
most of the besieged residents in areas under its influence from leaving –
using them as human shields.
Other towns in the west of the region, which are surrounded
by armed fighters, are suffering from starvation due to the government's difficulties
delivering food supplies. Over the past few days Daesh
managed to seize control of the government complex in central Ramadi before airstrikes by the international coalition
drove the militants out of government buildings that house sensitive offices
and the security services. Meanwhile, local Anbar officials
say that unarmed civilians have been the worst affected by recent security
developments witnessed by Ramadi. They estimate that
around 500 people, mainly women and children, were killed by Daesh elements in the latest attacks.
finally arrive at the Bzeibez Bridge, only to find that they will not be permitted
to enter Baghdad.
The fall of most of Ramadi comes
after nearly 17 months of resistance to repeated occupation attempts by Daesh – since the beginning of 2014. Even when the army
collapsed and Nineveh fell along with most Sunni-majority cities last June, armed
local tribal fighters didn't surrender.
Desperation on Bzeibez Bridge
According to former Anbar City Councilman
Mazhar Al-Mullah, Daesh
kidnapped about 250 families after occupying the Ramadi
government complex before releasing them a few hours later. He said that "thousands
of people have fled the areas of AlboAlwan, al-Thila and "Street
17." In a statement to the Al Mada newspaper, Al-Mullah added that "thousands of
people have made their way toward the Bzeibez Bridge
in order to reach Baghdad, but for the past three day the security forces have refused
to admit them into the capital."
Al-Mullah, a former parliamentary candidate for Anbar, said that "this time, security forces in
Baghdad are even refusing to allow women to enter, having abolished the system
of sponsorship that the capital in previous instances had put in place as a
condition for refugees to enter."
Posted By Worldmeets.US
According to the Displaced Persons Committee of the Council
of Representatives [Iraq's legislature], officials in Baghdad told them of
suspicions that there are infiltrators among the refugees charged with carrying
out a series of car bomb attacks in the capital. Other cities are refusing
entry to boys and men, calling on them to fight Daesh
in their respective regions. Most of the refugees trying to reach Baghdad are
desperate to cross the Bzeibez Bridge, which has
become widely known as the only safe way for the displaced to cross. They instead
decided to go to Amiriyah Fallujah [30km south of Fallujah],
which is also bombarded with mortar fire by ISIS on a daily basis and
struggling to cope with previous waves of refugees as it is.
Shaker al-Issawi, head of the
municipal council in the besieged city of Amiriyah
Fallujah, which is the only place left for refugees to go now that Baghdad is
off limits to them, says that "the area is tiny, under siege, and cannot
take in any more refugees." In a statement to the Al Mada newspaper, al-Issawi
said: "Over the past three days we have received around 15,000 refugees
from Ramadi – and that is in addition to those who
have arrived over the past few months." He added that "most of them
are homeless and living out in the open." Al-Issawi
says that the streets of Amiriyah al-Fallujah, which are
bombarded with mortar fire and Katyusha rockets on a
daily basis, "are overflowing with refugees, and that 30 or 40 rockets
fall on the area every day and sometimes strike those who have fled there."
Al-Issawi complains about the lack
of assistance provided those fleeing conflict zones in Ramadi
and who come to Amiriyah al-Fallujah. He says: "The
area is facing difficulties securing fuel and food because of checkpoints and
the bombardment of roads," adding that "most residents have been
unemployed for the past year and a half, ever since agricultural work and car
sales ceased, as these were the main sources of work for families in Amiriyah."
Aid has been very limited all along says MasroorAswad, a member of the Iraqi Commission for Human
Rights. "There were 4,000 families in the last wave of refugees from Ramadi" - and this is in addition to the estimated
550,000 people who fled Anbar before and who are
registered with the Commission. Aswad told Al Mada that "some
of the refugees are on the outskirts of Baghdad. … The security forces there
are preventing them from entering. They continue to be outside under the
burning sun without shelter, while others head toward Amiriyah
al-Fallujah. The Committee for Refugees and the Red Crescent have
supplied aid and a number of tents, but that isn’t enough for the huge numbers
of refugees we're seeing." Aswad said that the
Commission is in contact with the security forces and several committees of the
Council of Representatives that deal with displaced people, and is trying to
get them to safety.