Safe Return



Summary: Security incidents during this reporting period included two militant attacks using small arms fire that resulted in the deaths of two civilians, one of whom was a village mukhtar west of Mosul. Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces (ISF) conducted at least seven security operations that resulted in the arrests of at least 16 suspected militants and the confiscation or destruction of various weapons, explosives and equipment, including a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in the Baaj district. The International Coalition also carried out two airstrikes that resulted in the deaths of at least six militants in Badush and Atshana mountains west of Mosul. Finally, this week saw renewed Turkish airstrikes against YBS militia positions in Khana Sor north of Sinjar.

Note: locations are approximate

Security Incidents

On November 15, unknown militants opened fire on a civilian in the Islah Zera’i neighborhood west of Mosul. The civilian died immediately as a result.

On November 16, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said that a join force of Ninewa police and counterterrorism force arrested a member of ISIS who was part of the “Hisba” organization during the ISIS occupation of Mosul. The arrest took place in the Quds neighborhood in east Mosul.

On November 16, units for the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Ninewa arrested 12 wanted individuals based on court-issued warrants in east Mosul. The report did not mention other details about the incident.

On November 17, security sources reported hearing sounds of explosions without knowing the nature of the incident. The governor of Ninewa stated later that the explosion was part of an airstrike by the International Coalition targeting ISIS positions in the Atshana mountains west of Mosul.

On November 18, unknown militants opened fire from small arms on Salah Farouk Hassan, the mukhtar of the Hleila village west of Mosul, killing him immediately.

On November 18, the PMF said that their units took into custody an unspecified number of families thought to be affiliated with ISIS members and coming from the Syrian camp of al-Hol. A statement by the PMF said these families were smuggled in and on their way to Ninewa, and that they have been taken in for interrogation.

On November 19, the Interior Ministry said that the ISF dismantled ten IEDs and arrested a member of ISIS in the Qabousiyah area south of Sinjar.

On November 19, the ISF arrested two individuals wanted on terrorism charges in the Shora area west of Mosul and the Tel Kaif are north of Mosul. The military intelligence department said the detained suspects were ISIS fighters and they have been handed over to the competent for further investigation.

On November 19, the commander on Ninewa operations said that an airstrike based on intelligence provided by his command led to the deaths of six ISIS members inside a tunnel in the Badush area west of Mosul. A subsequent report by the Falcons Intelligence Cell added that the six militants were preparing to launch attacks in Mosul. The statement added that three of the militants wore suicide vests while the other three were equipped with silenced weapons. The ISF confiscated or destroyed a number of rifles, 50 IEDs, grenades, and communication and detonation devices found at the site.

On November 20, the Security Media Cell mentioned that forces under the Ninewa operations command destroyed a VBIED during a search operation in southern Baaj and al-Hadhar desert, and the area up to the Mosul-Baghdad highway. The force also discovered seven militant hideouts containing communication equipment, a suicide vest, three IEDs and other supplies. The hideouts were demolished and the explosives destroyed by military engineers without collateral damage.

On November 20, the Security Media Cell reported that unknown aircraft directed an airstrike at a position belonging to the YBS militia in the Khana Sor area north of Sinjar. The airstrike resulted in the destruction of the building and the death or injury of 20 YBS members. Other sources confirmed that the attacking aircraft belonged to the Turkish air force, and put the casualty figure at five injured only. Turkish military aircraft had previously attacked the same area about two and a half weeks ago.

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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