Safe Return



Summary:  Security incident during this reporting period included four operations by Iraqi security forces (ISF) that resulted in the arrest of at least 12 suspects, including members of ISIS and one person accused of defrauding the relatives of detainees for money. In addition, the international coalition conducted an airstrike in the desert around Mosul targeting ISIS cells. On the other hand, there was one attack with an improvised explosive device (IED) in which two civilians were wounded, and unknown individuals torched a school in the Shamal subdistrict of Sinjar. In other developments, the ISF increased their presence in the area around the Mosul University in anticipation of demonstrations in solidarity with ongoing protests in central and southern Iraq.


Note: locations are approximate

Security Incidents

On October 27, sources in the popular mobilization forces (PMF) denied earlier reports about their withdrawal from regions west of Mosul. The sources confirmed that PMF units continue to perform their duties in the regions extending from Tel-Afar up to the Mosul airport road.

On October 28, the ISF arrested seven suspects in connection with various crimes in the Rashidiya neighborhood in east Mosul. A security source said one of the suspects was a fighter in the ISIS “Diwan al-Jund” during the ISIS occupation of Mosul.

On October 28, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that the Ninewa police arrested a suspect accused of defrauding the relatives of detainees and taking money from them claiming that he would help expedite the detainees’ release. The suspect confessed that he collected more than $80,000 from his victims. The suspect was apprehended in the Rajm Hadid neighborhood of west Mosul.

On October 29, the ISF arrested a suspect who was described as a combatant who fought against the ISF during the battels to liberate Ninewa from ISIS and is thus wanted based on article 4 (terrorism). The suspect was arrested in the Qayrawan subdistrict west of Mosul.

On October 29, the ISF intensified their presence in east Mosul, especially near the entrance to Mosul University and the parade grounds. The increased deployment was described as a precautionary measure in anticipation of peaceful demonstrations in solidarity with protests in Baghdad and other provinces that have been ongoing since October 25.

On October 31, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said that International Coalition aircraft conducted airstrikes against a number of ISIS positions and tunnels used by ISIS militants in the desert areas surrounding Mosul. The statement did not include details about the exact locations or any resulting losses among ISIS.

On October 31, an IED exploded in the Badush area northwest of Mosul. The explosion wounded two civilians.

On October 31, the Interior Ministry said that the Ninewa police arrested three members of ISIS in the neighborhoods of Wadi Hajar, Tanak and Mamoun in west Mosul. Two of the suspects were reportedly fighters in the ISIS “Diwan al-Jund”.

On October 31, police sources said that unknown individuals set an elementary school in the Sinjar district west of Mosul on fire. The sources said the incident occurred after school hours at the Qurdoba elementary school in the Hittin compound, in the Shamal subdistrict.

Officially launched in June 2019, Ninewa-ISHM and Security Bulletins utilize 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 weekly bulletin 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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