Security Forces Finish Securing Ramadi; 285 Killed in Iraq

Authorities declared Ramadi’s eastern suburbs recaptured, including a road that leads to Baghdad. However, that highway runs through Falluja, which is still controlled by the Islamic State militants. The highway does, however, link Ramadi to Habbaniya where Coalition forces are located. Among the towns officially liberated were Husayba, Juweiba, and Sajariya. About 1,500 civilians were evacuated from Husayba. Dozens of militants were reported killed.

The U.S. government may be reconsidering paying the salaries of up to 35,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. The Kurdistan Regional Government has struggled to keep up the payments and asked the United States for help. As much as $300 million may be required to fully fund the fighters. In January, however, the State Department appeared reluctant to fulfill the multiple requests.

A new U.S. report on the Mosul Dam warns that the dam is in greater danger of collapsing that previously believed. Although the dam has been structurally challenged since its construction, its brief takeover by Islamic State militants last year postponed necessary maintenance.

Shi’ite militias are being accused of ethnic cleansing in Baghdad itself. Christian members of parliament say the militias have been forcing Christian Iraqis to move and forfeit possessions. Other Iraqi Christians, however, boycotted parliament’s “peaceful coexistence” conference to protest the lack of security for minorities in Iraq. The militias have regularly been accused of war crimes against minorities.

Violence left at least 285 dead and 42 wounded:

In Mosul, 14 police officers were executed; the men had been arrested and detained for months. Militants threw four civilians off a building for cooperating with security forces. They also executed a female bank employee, also for collaboration. Airstrikes killed 31 militants.

A mortar attack on Amiriyat al-Falluja killed one civilian and wounded 42 more at a popular market.

Peshmerga fighters backed by aviation forces killed 150 militants in Makhmour. Meanwhile, the first Iraqi brigade has arrived in the area.

Airstrikes on Baghdadi left 22 militants dead.

Security forces killed 14 militants in Tharthar.

Twelve militants were killed in strikes on Saqlawiya.

In Albu, Diab, ten militants were killed in a strike.

Security forces killed 10 militants in Jubba.

Eight militants were killed during an operation in Hawija.

Five militants were killed in the Hamrin Mountains.

In Baiji, three militants were killed.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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