Safe Return

Ninewa ISHM No. 1: June 13 – June 21, 2019

Key Takeaways:

  • Field fires continue to cause material and human losses; Security forces kill and arrest a number of ISIS militants, discover weapons caches – On June 11, military forces found explosive materials, IEDs and grenades in Bashiqa, al-Mahallabya and al-Baaj district. On June 13, the Director of Civil Defense in Ninewa said that five members of the Civil Defense were injured in the line of duty in the fireplace, including two by an IED in Telafar. On June 16, the Director of Iraqi Civil Defense stated that Ninewa is the most affected in Iraq, more than 36 thousand acres of agricultural land were burned. On June 19, the director of the Jirozer district reported that 500 houses were damaged by a large fire south of Sinjar. On June 15, a security force found a cache of explosive belts on the right side of Mosul. On June 17, the Iraqi Security Information Cell reported the killing of 16 terrorists in an air strike in the Wadi al-Gassab area of Ninewa. On June 18, a Katyusha rocket fell on the Presidential Palaces Complex on the left side of Mosul. On June 14, the security forces launched a military operation to clear the Aljazeera Desert between the provinces of Anbar and Ninewa. On June 19, an IED exploded in the Shahwan area and injured two people. more…
  • Sixty Yazidis return from Syria to Sinjar; Government promises to repatriate IDPs this year – On June 14, the Security Media Cell announced the return of 12 Yazidi families to Sinjar after their escape to Syria in 2014. On June 20, Ninewa police announced that a mass grave was found where 29 police officers had been buried in, who were executed by ISIS. On June 15, the Iraqi Planning Minister said from Hamdania said that IDPs living in “Hassan-sham” camp will return to their areas this year. more…
  • EU provides 17 million Euros in aid to Ninewa; Maintenance work on the Mosul Dam nears completion; Work continues to repair damaged roads and bridges – On June 14, the EU provided a €2 million grant to improve the living conditions of IDPs in the three “Al-Jada’a” refugee camps near Mosul. On June 17, the EU Ambassador announced that the EU would provide the farmers of Ninewa with a grant of €15 million to help about 10,000 farming families threatened by poverty. On 12 June, the Big Heart Foundation pledged $216,000 to rebuild the city of Sinjar. On June 13, authorities said work was underway to repair the Sinhareb bridge and the Yarmouk bridge. On June 13, the governor of Ninewa confirmed plans to rebuild Mosul airport within one year. On June 16, the U.S. ambassador that the Mosul Dam would soon be handed over to the Iraqi authorities. On June 19, the Qayyarah bridge was reopened. more…
  • Parliament discusses the decision to compensate farmers; Unconfirmed news says the investigation on ferry incident has stopped; Abdul Mahdi prevents military actions without the approval and supervision of the Iraqi leadership – On June 13, the Iraqi parliament discussed the issue of recent fires and the important role of the government in protecting the peasants and the possibility of issuing a parliamentary resolution to compensate the affected farmers. On June 18, unnamed sources announced that the investigation into the sinking of the ferry incident had been halted due to political pressure. On June 18, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi issued an important statement prohibiting the operation of any Iraqi or non-Iraqi armed forces outside the framework of the Iraqi armed forces or outside the command and supervision of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. more…

Safe Return is a multi-organization USAID project that is providing support for the safe and voluntary return of internally displaced Iraqis—many from minority communities—to their homes in the Ninewa Plains and Western Ninewa.


Security Developments

Field fires continue to cause material and human losses; Security forces kill and arrest a number of ISIS militants, discover weapons caches

On June 11, the Wattan news agency stated that the army found explosives, IEDs and bunker bombs in Ninewa according to a statement from the Defense Ministry. The report added that the forces of the Ninewa Operations Command found plastic barrels containing explosives and IEDs manufactured locally after conducting a search in the ​​Baeshiqa area. In a different search operations, security forces found two rocket and mortar launchers and 32 mortars in a village in al-Mahallabya direction. In related news, according to the statement, responsible authorities found, processed and detonated 4 homemade IEDs in the village of Hamoud al-Medulul in the district of Al-Baaj.

On June 13, Kurdistan 24 News Agency reported that field fires in several areas of Ninewa province that led to the injury of five civilian defense personnel. Colonel Hossam Khalil, Director of Civil Defense in Ninewa, said “two people were victims of an IED left by ISIS in the fields of crops in Tela’far, which led to their injury while they were in the line of duty in the fireplace.” Three other members of the Civil Defense were burned severely while preventing fires in the Hamdaniya area. According to the data published by the Civil Defense, there were 44 registered fires in Ninewa between May 8 and June 4. On June 16, Iraqi Civil Defense Director Kazem Salman said that Ninewa is the most affected place by the burning of more than 36 thousand acres of agricultural land in Iraq. On 17 June, Ninewa Agriculture Director Dureid Hikmat Tobia confirmed that the Civil Defense had managed to extinguish three fires in the village of Tel-Zalat in al-Mahallabya district, Asilah village towards Tel-Abtah village and Al-Boer village in the area of ​​Hammam Al-Aalil in Southern Mosul. A day after that incident, it was announced that the Civil Defense managed to extinguish a total of 8 fires within 24 hours in the Ninewa province. On June 19, the director of Giruzer sub-district, Jalal Kahlo announced that 500 houses were damaged because of a fire in Southern Sinjar.

On June 14, security forces launched a military operation to clear Aljazeera Desert between Anbar and Ninewa provinces. A security source explained that the operation will be carried out with the participation of Aljazeera and Ninewa Operations Commands as wells as Tribal Mobilization forces.

On June 15, a force of Military Intelligence in the Ninewa Operations Command raided an explosive belt cache on the right side of Mosul. The force found six explosive belts, a drone grenade, five hand grenades and a number of explosive detonators.

On June 17, the Iraqi Security Media Cell reported that 16 terrorists were killed in a Coalition Forces airstrikes on their hideouts in the Wadi Al-Alksb area of ​​Ninewa. The Ittihad News website said the Iraqi Security Media Cell has confirmed that the operation was carried out after the availability of intelligence to the Ninewa Command Operations.

On June 18, Sky News Arabia reported from its correspondent in Iraq that a Katyusha rocket landed on the presidential palaces complex in Mosul, which hosted a group of U.S. trainers in Iraq. In these events, another source revealed that “the size of the human and material losses caused by the missile was not determined”. An hour after the rocket fell, the Commander of Operations, General Numan Al-Zobaie said that the rocket was manufactured locally and that it was launched from the right side of the city and fell in a far distance from one of the security headquarters on the city’s left side.On June 19, a source in the Ninewa police told the Iraqi National News Agency of an IED explosion that wounded two people in the Shahwan area.

On June 19, Interior Ministry spokesman, Major General Saad Maan stated that Ninewa police  freed a hostage after he was kidnapped by two people that placed him in the trunk of a vehicle on the left coast of Mosul. In addition, Maan said that the suspects were arrested and handed over to the Anti-kidnapping Office to take the necessary and legal actions.

On June 20, a security source announced that the Ninewa police arrested 8 people who are thought to be members of ISIS in Badush region (25 Km northwest of Mosul). The security Source added that the detainees had light weapons on them.


Humanitarian Issues

Sixty Yazidis return from Syria to Sinjar; Government promises to repatriate IDPs this year

On June 14, the Security Media Cell announced the return of 12 Yazidi families to Sinjar after their escape to Syria in 2014, from ISIS controlled areas. The news agency added that the National Security Agency has overseen the return of Yazidi families, which number up to 60 people in total from the Nowruz Syrian Camp after confirming their official documents and the safety of their security situation.

On June 20, Ninewa police announced that they had found a mass grave in which 29 policemen had been buried by ISIS during the period of its control of the city of Mosul.

On June 15, the Iraqi planning minister said during an inspection tour in Hamdaniya that the IDPs living in Hassan-Sham camp would be returned to their areas of residence this year.


Economy, Reconstruction And Aid

EU provides 17 million Euros in aid to Ninewa; Maintenance work on the Mosul Dam nears completion; Work continues to repair damaged roads and bridges

On June 12, the Gulf news website reported that the UAE-based “Big Heart Foundation” had pledged $216,000 to help build Sinjar. The Emirates News Agency reported that the Foundation has signed an agreement to provide this money to Nadia Murad’s foundation Sinjar Fund to support the reconstruction of Sinjar city, which was destroyed by ISIS, and enable internally displaced Yazidis to return to their homes under secure and stable conditions.

On June 13, the Ninewa Media website reported that local authorities continue to work on the restoration and maintenance of “Sanharib” bridge on the left side of Mosul. In addition, Mosul municipality officials are carrying out the rehabilitation of the Yarmouk bridge on the right side of the city.

On June 13, the governor of Ninewa confirmed the willingness to rebuild Mosul airport within one year. On June 14, a workshop was held in the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers and included specialized authorities and was attended by representatives from the French Embassy and French companies. The workshop discussed the necessary procedures to complete the project with the time period agreed upon. On June 18, Minister of Planning Nuri Al-Dulaimi said that the rehabilitation and development of bridges, hospitals and Mosul airports are currently priorities of the Ministry of Planning.

On June 12, four Iraqi provinces including Ninewa province have received 10 ambulances from the World Health Organization (WHO). The donation comes at a time when camps and areas of return of displaced people are suffering from a shortage of ambulances due to war with ISIS, in which hundreds of ambulances were destroyed. The new ambulances will ease the burden and financial costs that the people face when returning to their areas when they need access to hospitals for treatment. The WHO has thus far donated 150 ambulances to various health departments in Iraq, and another 20 ambulances are expected to arrive in the next few months.

On June 14, the European Union provided a €2 million euro grant to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to improve the living conditions of the displaced population in the three “Al-Jada’a” camps near the city of Mosul in Ninewa, which includes a total of 35,000 IDPs.

On June 17, the European Union Ambassador to Iraq Ramon Blecua announced in a statement that the EU would give the farmers of Ninewa a grant of €15 million through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to help the Ninewa province, which is considered “The bread basket of Iraq”. Blecua added that the project will help around 10,000 farming families threatened by poverty.

On June 16, both the U.S. and Italian ambassadors alongside the Minister of Water Resources Jamal Al-Adili have attended a ceremony marking the completion and stabilization of the Mosul dam. The project was implemented with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Italian company “Trevi”. The U.S. provided $124 million in financial assistance through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the contract between Trevi and the Iraqi government which was estimated at a value of $408 million. With international training and up to date equipment, the Ministry of Water Resources teams will be able to continue the maintenance for the dam program, which will enable Iraq to take full control of flood waters and store water for drinking, irrigation and power generation, according to the U.S. ambassador’s comments.

On June 19, Mansour Al-Muraid, Governor of Ninewa has revealed that the Directorate of Ninewa Municipalities, in cooperation with the UNDP, has established 84 projects to provide work for the people of the governorate. These projects will include building housing complexes for affected families, providing hospitals with the necessary medical equipment and other services such as; building schools and institutes all over the Ninewa province.

On June 19, Directorate of Ninewa roads and bridges announced the reopening of the Qayyarah bridge, which had been out of service. Khalid Walid, the head of engineers in the Directorate said that the reconstruction of the bridge, which will help ease the mobility crisis facing the residents of the area, took less than 4 months and was done in cooperation with the military engineers of the Ninewa Operations Command.


Politics And Administration

Parliament discusses the decision to compensate farmers; Unconfirmed news says the investigation on ferry incident has stopped; Abdul Mahdi prevents military actions without the approval and supervision of the Iraqi leadership

On June 20, the Governor of Ninewa province, Mansour Al-Muraid met with both the Sunni and Shia endowment administration to resolve their disputes over the properties in the province. In a related story, former Ninewa Governor Atheel Al-Nujaifi, claimed that the Shia endowment had trespassed on some properties in Mosul and stressed that it was the duty of the current governor to intervene and resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

On June 13, the Iraqi Parliament discussed the issue of recent fires, and the important role of the government in protecting the peasants and the possibility of issuing a parliamentary resolution to compensate the affected farmers. At the governorate level, Governor Mansour Al-Muraid of Ninewa said that the compensation committee on the previous local government has processed only 150 out 18,000 filed applications and added that the new administration has taken measures to speed up the transactions and compensate the farmers. The governor noted that 500 transactions were completed in just two days. On June 19, the governor stated that the rate of processing applications had increased to 125 per day.

On June 18, unnamed sources announced that investigations into the Mosul ferry incident in March of this year, which left more than 120 people dead or missing, had stopped. Sources said the investigation was halted due to political pressure, but added that the compensation of victims would not be affected and would go on in accordance with the Martyrs Law.

On June 18, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued an important statement via his website. The statement stressed the need for stability of Iraq and the preservation of its sovereignty from the destabilizing actions of external and internal parties. The prime minister referred to several resolutions aimed at preserving the sovereignty of the state:

  1. Any foreign force shall be prohibited from taking any action or movement on Iraqi soil without the permission, agreement and control of the Iraqi Government.
  2. Any foreign state shall be prevented from establishing military presence on Iraqi spoil or taking actions against any other party, without agreement with the Iraqi government.
  3. Any Iraqi or non-Iraqi armed forces are prohibited from taking military actions outside the framework of the Iraqi armed forces or outside the command and supervision of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
  4. Any armed force operating within the framework of the Iraqi armed forces and under the command of the Commander in Chief shall be prevented from having movements, operations, stores or industries outside the knowledge and control of the Iraqi Armed Forces and the supervision of the Commander in Chief.

 

Please note: some geographic locations represented are approximations and this map may not represent all incidents.


Officially launched in June 2019, Ninewa-ISHM utilizes information collected from community-based monitors; Iraq-based Arabic, Kurdish, and English news sources; data from aid agencies; and social media posts, verified and fact-checked by EPIC’s research team. This report is part of Safe Return, a project to support the safe and voluntary return of IDPs who have survived severe human rights abuses to their homes in Ninewa. Safe Return is made possible with the generous support of the American people through USAID in partnership with Heartland Alliance International.

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