Safe Return

Ninewa ISHM No. 2: June 21 – July 26, 2019

Key Takeaways:

  • Pace of security operations against ISIS militants rise as attacks in Ninewa noticeably drop since late June – The security incidents (67) recorded in Ninewa during this reporting period included the following: twenty eight operations by security forces resulting in the capture of militants believed to be ISIS members in various locations, some of which uncovered weaponry and equipment; eight search operations by security forces resulting in discovery of weapons and supplies belonging to militants without arrests; eleven operations by security forces resulting in killing militants believed to be ISIS members; and four airstrikes by the international coalition that resulted in killing militants believed to be ISIS members and destroying their hideouts. On the other hand, there were five gun attacks by militants that targeted civilians or security forces; four attacks with IEDs; two abductions; one incident of militants breaking into the office of an NGO; one incident of displacement due to fires; as well as the discovery of one mass grave containing the remains of ISIS victims and the discovery of one unidentified body. more…
  • Hundreds of IDPs return home amid discussions of accelerating full return despite limited financial resources – On July 14, the ministry of migration announced that 423 IDPs have returned home from camps south and east of Mosul. On June 23, the governor of Ninewa said after meeting with the minister of migration that IDPs would soon be sent home, stressing that the government’s goal is to have all IDPs return home despite insufficient funding. On July 21, the U.S. ambassador visited Erbil for the first time where he met with Yezidi leaders to discuss conditions in Sinjar and possible U.S. support to facilitate the return of IDPs. On July 13, the ministry of migration said it distributed 56,526 aid packages, containing food, clothing, hygiene products and other necessities to displaced families in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din provinces. more…
  • Number of schools rebuilt; work begins on new hospital; Ninewa first in grain harvest; project to rebuild 3,000 homes in old Mosul – On July 6, the ministry of health began building a new 600-bed hospital in the west side of Mosul. On July 7, work was completed on 13 schools in the west side of Mosul. On July 11, a member of Ninewa’s provincial council said work began on 30 services projects in old Mosul including clinics. On July 21, authorities announced the opening of six health clinics in the west Mosul district of Tel Romman, Wadi Hajar, Rifai, Zenjili and Aamil. On July 24, the governor of Ninewa said work began to rebuild 3,000 damaged homes in old Mosul. On July 15, the ministry of trade said 500 thousand tons of wheat arrived at its silos in Ninewa. more…
  • International community continues to provide aid to Ninewa – On July 22, the U.S. allocated $500,000 to rebuild the Lalish temple for Yezidis. Repairs are to begin in August and last six month. On July 14, our local monitors reported that CRS is providing small business loans valued at $1,500 each in the town of Baeshiqa. On July 18, our local monitors reported that IOM launched a project to revitalize 100 shops in the west side of Mosul by providing $1,500 grants to enable shop owners to purchase equipment and tools to relaunch their businesses. 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

Pace of security operations against ISIS militants rise as attacks in Ninewa noticeably drop since late June

Note: Above figures represent information collected from Iraqi and international news sources, social media, and our community monitors. They do not necessarily represent all incidents that occurred during this reporting period.

On June 22, the Interior Ministry announced the freeing of a kidnapped girl and the arrest of her abductor in Mosul.

On June 22, security forces detained a person believed to be involved in transporting ISIS members from Syria to Iraq.

On June 22, a roadside bomb exploded near the Jerusalem neighborhood cemetery on the east side of Mosul. The explosion killed one girl and wounded three people.

On June 23, a source in Ninewa police said unknown assailants killed two civilians, one in the village of Tufaha in the district of al-Mahalibiya, and another in the village of Hajj Ali in Qayyarah district.

On June 23, the Directorate of Military Intelligence announced the arrest of a person suspected of being a deputy commander with ISIS in the town of Aski in Mosul.

On June 23, the Security Media Cell announced the killing of two suspected terrorists and the destruction of ten tunnels and caves south of Hatra district in the area extending towards Senia in Salah ad-Din in coalition airstrikes.

On June 24, Iraq forces destroyed a meeting place and two tunnels in in the Qubr al-Abd area in southern Mosul. The security forces also found weapons and equipment inside the tunnels.

On June 25, security forces arrested ten suspects, including five suspected members of ISIS, in various village in the town of Nimrud, southeast of Mosul.

On June 25, a source in the Ninewa police said that unknown persons broke into the office of “Sons of al-Hadbaa” NGO in the Sukar neighborhood in northeastern Mosul and damaged its contents.

On June 26, military intelligence units seized three rockets, four launchers, and three IEDs in the village of Mujtila in the Qayyarah district in Mosul during a raid on an ISIS hideout.

On June 26, a source in Ninewa police announced the arrest of a security official with ISIS and his brother in the district of Baaj, west of Mosul.

On June 27, a source in Ninewa police announced that ISIS militants has attacked the village of Khazrajiya, southwest of  Baaj, killing three women and wounding two other villagers.

On June 27, military intelligence units killed two suspected terrorists after chasing them in Baaj district, west of Mosul.

On June 27, Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Bashir Haddad asked the Kurdistan region to send fire engines and ambulances to help control the large fires that engulfed the sulfur facility in Mishraq.

On June 28, a local source stated that a fire resulted in destroying large area of fields and a number of Iraqi army trailers at the Tamarat camp, northeast of Tal-Afar.

On June 29, the Ninewa Operations Command announced the arrest of 23 suspected members of ISIS during a security operation in the Hatra district in southern Ninewa.

On June 29, the Ninewa Provincial Council said 250 families were displaced from Sinjar district and are heading towards Dohuk and surrounding areas due to fires that swept their district.

On June 30, military intelligence announced that it had raided a large safe house for arms and drugs trafficking in Al-Wahda neighborhood in the district of Tal-Afar, and arrested the owner.

On July 1, military intelligence said four suspected terrorists were killed inside a tunnel in an air strike by an international coalition aircraft in the area of Ain Al-Jahsh, south of Mosul.

On July 1, military intelligence announced that two suspected terrorists were killed in Umm Al-Ahram village in Baaj district in southwestern Ninewa. Security forces also discovered weapons and equipment used by the militants.

On July 2, security forces arrested a suspected ISIS member in the eastern side of Mosul city.

On July 3, a unit of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) killed four people believed to be ISIS members and destroyed two hideouts used by militants in the area of Sheikh Ibrahim mountain, south of Tal-Afar district

On July 3, militants blew up the uninhabited house of a local doctor up in the Maliya district, east of Mosul. The Explosive device resulted in material damage without casualties.

On July 3, security forces found the remains of 19 policemen who had been executed by ISIS in a mass grave of Mahana village in the Qayyara district, south of Mosul.

On July 3, a statement by the security media cell reported that security forces killed seven terrorists and destroyed a vehicle and a tunnel used by the militants west of Sakhairat region in Ninewa.

On July 3, a source in Ninewa police announced that the Civil Defense teams extinguished a fire caused by the explosion of six explosive devices that went off consecutively next to the strategic oil pipeline in the village of Ain al-Jahsh in the Shoura region, south of Mosul.

On July 3, a statement by the security media cell reported that three terrorists were killed by a coalition air strike. A search also uncovered a weapons cache, which contained explosive belts and IEDs in the western part of Jabal Al-Manayef.

On July 4, the Interior Ministry announced that it had arrested four members of ISIS in the eastern side of Mosul.

On July 5, the Interior Ministry announced that the Ninewa police arrested a member of ISIS disguised as a woman in Mosul.

On July 6, the Ministry of Defense announced in a statement the discovery of IEDs, mortars and explosives during searches conducted by the security forces in the villages of al-Haram, Um al-Arayes, and al-Marg.

On July 6, a source in the Ninewa Police announced that seven members of ISIS who infiltrated into al-Rashidiya, 10 kilometers north of Mosul, had been arrested. In addition, the security forces found a cache of weapons and ammunition containing mortar rounds, projectiles, IEDs and pistols.

On July 7, a security source reported that a security force seized four improvised explosive devices, two explosive belts and high explosive materials in the western side of Mosul.

On July 7, Ninewa operations command forces arrested two people suspected of terrorism in the Uboor area in the western side of Mosul. The same force found four mortar rounds during a search carried out in the area of Halabiya.

On July 7, the Joint Operations Command announced the launch of the first phase of the “Will of Victory” operation to clear the desert linking the provinces of Ninewa, Salah Al-Din and Anbar. The operation was launched with the participation of several forces, including the army operations commands of Al-Jazeera, Ninewa and Salah ad-Din, as well as the popular mobilization forces and the tribal mobilization forces. The Iraqi air force and the International Coalition provided support from the air.

On July 7, the popular mobilization force announced that they had killed two members of ISIS in southern Sansol Lake, south of Baaj district in Ninewa, as part of the “Will of Victory”.

On July 8, the security forces arrested a member of the ISIS, based on accurate information and continuous follow-up in the eastern side of Mosul. The detainee was carrying forged civilian identity cards and was working in the so-called (Islamic police) during the ISIS occupation of the city. The person is believed to have been among the terrorists responsible for a motorcycle bomb attack in the al-Dawassah area, which injured two people last Ramadan.

On July 8, a PMF force found four hideouts belonging to ISIS in the villages of Tel al-Wajib, Kokeiba, Haj Jamil, north of Sansol lake southwest of Mosul, and a fifth located in the village of Malhat, north of Baaj district.

On July 8, security forces arrested three people involved with ISIS in the village of Haj Ali in the Qayyarah area.

On July 8, the PMF said that they destroyed a vehicle belonging to ISIS in the west side of Mosul and killed its occupants, without disclosing more details.

On July 8, Iraqi security forces killed five militants, including a local leader in ISIS with the help from the international coalition aircraft in the Ghouroub area in the Hatra district, southwest of Mosul. In addition, the security media cell reported that army forces arrested three militants in a cave in al-Aali area of Baaj district, west of Mosul. The force destroyed the militants’ stores, control-detonated several IEDs and confiscated their weapons.

On July 8, an Iraqi military source said three soldiers dies and one was wounded after two explosives devices exploded successively, targeting an Iraqi army patrol at the entrance of Tal-Afar district.

A source with the Mosul police said that unknown militants kidnapped two currency traders in the west side of Mosul and demanded $500,000 in ransom.

On July 8, the PMF announced that they had found meeting places and a command post belonging to ISIS in the Ninewa desert. The force found and safely disposed of explosive materials during the operation.

On July 9, a force from the PMF were able to kill an unspecified number of ISIS members and uncovered a hideout used by the militants that included food, vehicles, and military equipment in southwestern Ninewa.

On July 10, the Interior Ministry announced that a member of ISIS had been arrested in the al-Hadbaa district in the eastern side of Mosul.

On July 10, the National Intelligence Service announced the seizure of 142 devices used by ISIS for media production and operations in Ninewa.

On July 11, military intelligence announced the arrest of a group that was providing information to ISIS after monitoring them in the Hajj Ali village in the Qayyara district south of Mosul.

On July 11, the security media cell announced that an intelligence force has arrested a suspected terrorist called “Um al-Mujahdeen” in the west side of Mosul.

On July 11, PMF units dismantled two IEDs, a car bomb and a number of explosive belts in the al-Jazira dessert in Ninewa.

On July 12, military intelligence announced the arrest of a terrorist in the Sultan Abdullah area of the Qayyarah district south of Mosul.

On July 13, military intelligence announced the arrest of a person suspected of working as an ISIS security agent, while he trying to enter the Makhmour district coming from Erbil.

On July 13, the security media cell announced the killing of four ISIS militants in airstrikes by the international coalition south of the village of Al-Manayef in Ninewa.

On July 13, the security media cell said nine suspected terrorists were killed by an international coalition airstrike in one of the valleys north of Lake Senaisla in Ninewa.

On July 15, the Ninewa Operations Command announced the arrest of 16 ISIS members in the districts of Qayyarah and Shoura south of Mosul in a security operation to pursue ISIS elements. The source added that the three hideouts were raided and weapons were found inside.

On July 16, the Security Media Cell announced the killing of two gunmen in an international coalition airstrike inside a tunnel west of the Sukhairiat area in Ninewa.

On July 18, the Security Media Cell reported that six militants were killed in an international coalition airstrike south of Lake Senaisla on the Iraqi-Syrian border in the Baaj District.

On July 18, our community-based monitors reported a kidnapping incident by gunmen that targeted a businessman in the Wadi Hajar area in western Mosul.

On July 19, military intelligence announced the arrest of a person involved in supplying weapons and other equipment to ISIS in the area of Shamalat in the Baaj district.

On July 20, security forces arrested three ISIS members in the eastern and western sides of Mosul city. The Interior Ministry spokesman, Saad Maan said the detainees confessed that they were fighters in the so-called “Soldiers Diwan” during the lSIS occupation of the city.

On June 22, military intelligence in Ninewa announced the arrest of a suspected major financier of prominent members of ISIS in the mountains of Qara Chogh near the town of Makhmour, southeast of Ninewa.

On July 23, the Ninewa Operations command launched a security operation to apprehend ISIS members in Hamam Al-Alil, south of Mosul. The operation ended in the arrest of 18 suspects, including seven suspected commanders, and the confiscation of their weapons.

On July 23, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Saad Maan announced the arrest of a person that was suspected of being an ISIS member, along with a person providing him with cover, in al-Arabi neighborhood in the eastern side of Mosul. The detainee is thought to have been a fighter in the so-called “Soldiers Diwan” during the lSIS occupation of the city.

On July 23, the Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of seven suspected members of ISIS in different areas of eastern Mosul, including the districts of al-Intisar, al-Karama, and al-Arbajiya, on warrants issued by the judiciary.

On July 24, a police source said ISIS killed Sheikh Ali Khazal Al-Saleh, a tribal elder of the Albu-Badran tribe and his nephew in an attack on the village of Zuwairij.

On July 24, the security media cell reported that security forces killed five militants east of Mount Sinjar in Ninewa.

On July 25, Ninewa police arrested three suspected ISIS members in the district of Al-Baaj who had infiltrated across the Syrian border. In a related incident, security forces found the body of an unidentified young man in al-Ayyathiah district in western Mosul.

On July 25, the former Yazidi PM, Mahma Khalil Ali Agha said that ISIS has launched an attack on Mount Sinjar and kidnapped then executed a Yazidi fighter with a person who was accompanying him.

On July 26, the Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of a person accused of being affiliated to the “Hisba” organization in ISIS in the area al-Rashidiya area in the east side of Mosul.

On July 26, thousands of Shabaks, Turkmen, and other minorities demonstrated in Bartala, east of Mosul and demanded the rescinding of a recent order issued by Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. The Prime Minister’s orders demanded the withdrawal of PMF units from checkpoints in the towns of the Ninewa Plains region.


Humanitarian Issues

Hundreds of IDPs return home amid discussions of accelerating full return despite limited financial resources

On June 21, US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller met with a group of Yezidi leaders on his first visit to Erbil. The ambassador discussed the situation in Sinjar and how the United States could assist the return of the displaced Yezidis to their homes.

On June 23, Ninewa Governor Mansour al-Mureed met with Minister of Migration and Displaced Nawfal Bahaa Mousa and said after the meeting that the government is determined to have all displaced persons return to their homes soon despite the lack of financial resources to support the process.

On June 24, the committee in charge of compensations in Ninewa announced that compensation payments have been distributed to more than 400 beneficiaries in Ninewa—who had property damaged in the war with ISIS—after their applications were processed by authorities in Baghdad.

On July 13, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration provided 56,526 aid packages to displaced families in camps in Ninewa and Salah ad-Din provinces. The aid included food and hygiene prodcuts, as well as clothing and other necessities. The aid packages were distributed to IDPs in several camps, including the Jadaa and Al-Mudarraj in southern Mosul, as well as Khazer and Hasan-Sham east of Mosul.

On July 14, the Ministry of Immigration announced the return of 423 IDPs from camps in eastern and southern Mosul. The Director General of the Branch Affairs Department at the Ministry, Abbas Jahakir cooperated with the Ministry of Transportation to provide buses for the displaced people who wish to return to their homes. He explained that the camps of Khazar Hasan-Sham have witnessed the return of 142 displaced people and 281 returned from the camps of Gadaa, Al-Mudaraj, and Hamam Al-Alil in southern Mosul. Ali Abbas pointed out that the displaced people returned to several areas including the districts of Baaj, Talafar, and others.


Economy, Reconstruction And Aid

Number of schools rebuilt; work begins on new hospital; Ninewa first in grain harvest; project to rebuild 3,000 homes in old Mosul

On June 23, Ninewa municipalities started rehabilitating of the Gwer bridge southeast of Mosul. The bridge, which links the Ninewa Erbil, has been out of service for four years.

On June 24, the governor of Ninewa said work has begun to rebuild 3,000 damaged homes in old Mosul. The project, which aims to encourage the return of IDPs, is expected to take six months to complete.

On July 6, Ninewa Provincial Council Chairman, Sedo Jetto said that the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Fao Engineering Company started building a new 600-bed hospital at the cost of ID360 billion in the western side of Mosul.

On July 7, the Directorate of School buildings in Ninewa announced the re-opening of 13 schools following the completion of reconstruction. The schools were damaged in the war with ISIS and are located in the western side of Mosul. The schools have been provided with laboratories, desks and other materials to prepare them for the next school year.

On July 11, a member of the Ninewa Provincial Council said work has begun on more than 30 health and other basic services projects in Mosul’s old city to provide services for returning IDPs.

On July 13, the director of Ninewa railways announced plans to establish railway lines linking the province with Syria and Turkey to help commercial movement between the neighboring countries. Work is expected to begin in August.

On July 14, a local NGO called Hammurabi began the rehabilitation of a school located on Al-Mahkama (court) street in Qaraqosh.

On July 14, our community based monitors reported that Christian Relief Services (CRS) has provided small business loans at $1,500 each for small projects in the village of Baboukh in the Baeshiqa district. Some locals expressed concern with the selection of beneficiaries because of what they called potential for nepotism and discrimination.

On July 15, the Ministry of Commerce reported that 500 thousand tons of wheat have been brought by farmers to its warehouses in Ninewa since the launch of the marketing operation on June 9. The director of the Ministry’s Grain Trade said the marketed wheat is delivered at the following approved marketing centers in the governorate; Mosul silo, Bazwaya, al-Waelia, Tal-Afar, Makhmour, and the yards at Mosul and ‘Mshirfa. The official expected the total amount of wheat marketed in the province to exceed 600,000 tons by the end of the season.

On July 15, our community-based monitors in Darawish Village in Baeshiqa district reported that a local resident donated a plot of land to the Ministry of Health to build a public clinic.

On July 15, our community-based monitors reported a visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Oil headed by the Director General of the distribution of oil products in Mosul. The visit result were: increasing Ninewa’s daily share of the gasoline, supplying Ninewa with additional equipment and machinery, agreeing to build additional government-owned stations in the province, and halting the fuel card system in Mosul.

On July 17, our community-based monitors reported the opening of a local law office in the Baeshiqa area, which would enable residents to obtain legal services or advice within their area rather than going to Mosul.

On July 17, our community-based monitors reported that the municipality of Mosul resumed the construction of a bridge project in Al-Muthana intersection that connects the areas of al-Zuhur and al-Darakzaliya, which had been suspended for over five years. The project is implemented by 77 Contracting company.

On July 18, our community-based monitors reported the resumption of construction at Mosul’s Blood Diseases Hospital, which was completely destroyed during ISIS occupation of the city.

On July 18, our community-based monitors reported that the Directorate of Sewage in Ninewa performed maintenance on the sewage system in Baghdad street and the New Mosul area in western Mosul.

On July 18, our community based monitors reported that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was carrying out a project to revitalize the Farouk shops in western Mosul by offering grants ($1,500 each ) to the owners of 100 damaged hops to allow them to purchase tools and equipment.

On July 20, our community-based monitors in Baeshiqa reported that the ministry of education was issuing payments to volunteer teachers for all levels of education (primary and secondary).

On July 20, our community-based monitors reported that Doctors Without Borders had opened a new health center in the Nahrawan neighborhood of the Tanak district in western Mosul. The center includes a maternity ward.

On July 20, our local sources confirmed that a local company under supervision by the Mosul Municipality began the rehabilitation of streets in the Mufti area. It also began to work on resurfacing and paving the main streets in Al-Ansar and Al-Shaima neighborhoods. In related news, on July 21, the municipality of al-Hamdaniya began to pave the main street in Karamelsh district. Our community-based monitors reported that two additional streets were being paved by the municipality of Qaraqosh: one in Rasan square and the second called Hawli street.

On July 21, the head of the Ninewa Provisional Reconstruction Committee announced the opening of six health centers in the western side of Mosul. Work was completed by the engineering and technical staff of the health ministry and Ninewa municipality. The centers are located in several districts, including Tel al-Romman, Wadi Hajar, Al-Rifai, and Al-Amel.

On July 21, our community-based monitors reported the opening of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging and a CT Scan systems at Mosul General Hospital in Wadi Hajar area.

On July 22, the governor of Ninewa announced the restoration of health and educational services in the district of Tal-Afar. The governor full services were restored by Iraqi companies and the engineering division of Ninewa municipalities. These services included the reopening of 43 schools during 2018 and 2019, which had been destroyed during the war with ISIS. The Governor added that 80 displaced families were returned to their areas in the district, and another group of families will return early next week.

On July 22, Ninewa Provincial Council Chairman Sedo Jetto said the U.S. allocated $500,000 for the restoration of the Lalish Yezidi Temple in Baeshiqa, north of Mosul. The decision came after US Ambassador Matthew Tueller and Consul General in Erbil Steve Fagin visited the temple. The restoration is scheduled to start in August and will take six months.

On July 23, the General Directorate for the Education in Ninewa announced the opening of four schools in the areas of Hamedat and Shoura. The director of school buildings department explained that the school are in al-Boer and Damerji in Hamedat, Khirbet Malak and Shahed Ahmad Adel in Shoura. He added that there are 11 more schools currently under construction.

On July 26, Duraid Hekmat Toubia, Director of Agriculture of Ninewa announced that the Ministry of Agriculture has received 703,381 tons of barley indicating that Ninewa ranked first among other governorates in production despite the loss of many agricultural lands due to fires and floods.


Politics And Administration

On July 23, our community-based monitors reported that Ninewa Provincial Council member, Hasan Khalaf Hasan was confirmed as deputy governor for technical affairs after being nominated by the bloc led by politician Khamis Al-Khanjar. They also reported that and Ahmad Nazim Ali was chosen as the director of the health department in the province, representing the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Additionally, Aseel Jasim was nominated by Sanad bloc and confirmed as the director of the Ninewa education department. Mohammed Ibrahim Abboudi was chosen as the investment manager following his nomination by the Islamic party.

On June 24, members of parliament from Ninewa called for an end to the dispute over the properties owned by the Sunni and Shia endowments in the province and warned of the outbreak of sectarian strife among the local population. The representatives also called for summoning of the Sunni and Shia endowments chiefs to appear before a representative of the prime minister to resolve resolve the dispute in a manner that respects and preserves the rights of all parties.

On June 25, the Al-Mada newspaper reported about spreading allegations that neighboring states were buying land and damaged houses in Mosul, whose owners lost hope in getting compensation from the government, for as little as 5% of their original value. The war against ISIS destroyed 35,000 homes in Ninewa, including 11,000 in the Old City alone. The Governor of Ninewa, Mansour Al-Muraid had suggested earlier during his visit to the area that locals should sell their homes and lands to investors. His televised remarks caused anger among many observers.


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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