Daesh preventing Iraqi civilians from leaving Fallujah: Pentagon official
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group is preventing civilians from leaving the embattled western Iraqi city of Fallujah, with its snipers targeting the humanitarian corridors established by Iraqi security forces.
Colonel Steve Warren, A US spokesman for the so-called anti-Daesh forces said on Friday that shooters from the extremist network are stopping dwellers of Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad, from escaping the city amid acute shortage of basic commodities and medicine.
“We know that the Iraqis have attempted on several occasions to open up humanitarian corridors to allow some of those civilians to come out,” Warren said in a video call from Baghdad.
“Those have met with generally not much success. ISIL (Daesh) has done things like set up snipers to cover down on those corridors, to kill people as they’re trying to get out. So that has really discouraged their use,” he added.
The US-led alliance has been mounting air raids against so-called Daesh positions in Iraq since 2014, but the aerial campaign, which has taken a heavy toll on Iraqi civilians and infrastructure, has done little to uproot the terror group.
There have also been numerous reports that US aircraft even support the the terror group by dropping weapons and ammunition to them in the areas under their control.
The Pentagon official further noted that Iraqi government troopers have tried to establish three corridors, but have all been deserted because of the presence of snipers.
“Word must have spread because no civilians have tried to use the corridors in the last few weeks,” he said.
Warren said Iraqi security forces have surrounded Fallujah, and have begun to slowly “chip away” at it.
“This is the very first city that ISIL gained control of. ISIL’s been there for more than two years, so they are dug in and dug in deep. This is a tough nut for us to crack here. This is a tough nut for the Iraqis to crack,” the top Pentagon official pointed out.
The report comes as Takfiri terrorists have reportedly executed nearly a dozen civilians in Iraq’s beleaguered northern province of Nineveh.
The spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul, Saeed Mamouzini, said Daesh Takfiris killed 11 residents of the militant-held city, located some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, for using mobile phones.
Mamouzini added that the victims came from al-Tahrir neighborhood of Mosul, and Daesh extremists executed the victims by firing squad in a militant base.
United Nations Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) Jan Kubis told the UN Security Council on May 7 that more than 50 mass graves have been found in various parts of Iraq after retaking the areas from Daesh terrorists.
Late last April, Daesh members executed 250 women in Mosul after the victims did not accept a proposal to temporarily marry the militants.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted their offensive in June 2014.
Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.