Hundreds May Already Be Dead Across Northern Iraq

Due to the chaotic situation, an accurate number of casualties cannot be determined at this time. A true number may never be known, especially if ISIS/DAASH militants are able to sustain their gains. However, The United Nations believes hundreds may have already been killed and a thousand may be wounded. The organization also warned that there will be more executions, rapes, reprisal killings and shelling of civilians in the coming days.

ISIS/DAASH claimed on Twitter that 1,700 Shi’ite soldiers were executed. This claim cannot be independently confirmed and seems very exaggerated.

The U.S. government is withholding help until it sees evidence of a political change in Baghdad. Many analysts believe a deeply sectarian government in Baghdad is at the root of current events. The government will have to compromise with Sunnis and other groups if it wants U.S. help.

A rare message from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was read during Friday prayers in Karbala. In it he asked followers to fight against ISIS/DAASH. Those killed defending Iraq would be considered martyrs. Sistani is the highest Shi’ite authority in Iraq, but he generally stays out of politics.

Iran‘s leaders are discussing the possibility of working with the United States against ISIS/DAASH militants, according to an official. They could be willing to send advisor and weapons, but not troops. However, troops were already reported to be in Tikrit, and Iranian General Qasem Soleimani is said to be in Baghdad. Soleimani is the head of Iran’s Quds force. Their fear is that the conflict will lead to instability across the region. Indeed, some are predicting this could change several borders.

The International Organization for Migration estimated that 40,000 refugees have fled Tikrit and Samarra. The strain of possibly a half million refugees from Mosul is testing the Kurdish Regional Government. Many of the refugees have family or money for hotels, but others are taking shelter in government or even unfinished buildings.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to Samarra to announce that Iraqi forces have begun to clear our militants. He gave no details on where operations were successful. He also promised to arm civilian volunteers.

Militants appear to be foregoing some difficult cities, such as Kirkuk, in order to reach and surround Baghdad, particularly through Diyala province, which would allow access to the city’s eastern flank.

Tribal fighters, mostly volunteers, appear to be protecting Samarra and the city’s holy sites effectively.

Iraq army helicopters bombed the largest mosque in Tikrit. The government has said that it already liberated Tikrit.

Clashes took place in Muqdadiya and Adhaim. Authorities declared Adhaim retaken, while Iraqi troops fired at nearby villages from Muqdadiya.

Jalawla had apparently fallen even with Peshmerga reinforcements arriving in town, but may have been retaken later.

Saidiya was also taken today. Many residents fled towards Khanaqin and the Iranian border. Iraqi forces gave it up without a fight. Peshmerga arrived to claim it.

They also took control of several villages in the Himreen Mountains, long a stronghold of militant activity.

Iraqi forces are preparing to fight in Suleiman Bek.

Known Casualties: 61 Killed, 10 Wounded

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in a blast in Abu Ghraib.

A clash in Tabaj left two soldiers and three militants dead.

Three militants were killed during clashes near Muqdadiya.

In Jalawla, five militants were killed and three Peshmerga were wounded.

The U.N. reported that 30 civilians were killed during shelling in Mosul. Also, six civilians were executed for working with the Iraq government. Four women committed suicide after being raped by militants.

Two vehicles carrying militants were destroyed in Ishaqi.

Militants killed a number of officers and soldiers at the Thar Thar intersection near Samarra.

Six gunmen were killed in Ramadi.

Heavy casualties were reported after authorities repulsed an incursion from Syria.

Militants clashed with security forces in Baghdad.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.