3,129 Killed in Iraq During September

At least 3,129 people were killed in Iraq during September, and 496 were wounded.

The higher number of fatalities in September compared to August may reflect current operations against the Islamic State in the Qaim and Hawija regions. During August, at least 2,154 were killed, and 456 were wounded.

The breakdown is as follows: At least 372 civilians were reported killed, and 360 were wounded. One hundred security personnel were killed and 120 more were wounded. Among the Islamic State militants, 2,616 were killed and 12 were wounded. Turkish operations inside Iraqi territory also killed 40 members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.). The P.K.K. killed one Turkish Soldier and wounded four more.

These figures, with the possible exception of ISIS/Daesh dead, should be considered low estimates. The Iraqi government has kept its casualty figures top secret, and without independent sources it is impossible to know the true tally of civilian or militant casualties.

To underscore the problem, this week, Coalition forces revealed that over 1,200 Iraqi soldiers were killed during the Mosul campaign. Earlier in the month, Iraqi forces said 115 personnel were killed during the brief campaign against Tal Afar. These figures are not included in the above tally. The true number of dead and wounded may never be known.

In other news:

Iraqi government officials have reached a border crossing shared by Kurdistan and Turkey, via a route through Turkey. Operations at the crossing are reported as being normal but tense.

Iraq and Iran will also be conducting military drills at Iran’s shared border with Kurdistan over the next few days, in response to the Kurdish independence referendum. However, Iran has reportedly been militarizing the frontier for months to prevent dissent among its own Kurds. Celebrations in support of the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan were met with an immediate crackdown.

In a peculiar attempt to cast aspersions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, of involvement in the referendum. He cited the flying of Israeli flags during celebrations as his proof. Israel was the only regional power to encourage Kurds on the referendum, and the flying of flags could just as easily be interpreted as thanks for expressing support.

Furthermore, Erdoğan reiterated threats that Kurds would pay heavily for “opening a wound in the region to twist the knife in.” And, he also spoke of the referendum as if it were a direct insult to Ankara by declaring that the Kurdistan Regional Government “took steps against us.”

What Erdoğan mostly fears from the referendum is an escalation of the desire for Turkish Kurds to have an autonomous state. However, in his zeal to consolidate power, Erdoğan reignited the decades old war between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), whose aim is to create an independent Kurdish state in Turkey. Peace talks between the two parties had been ongoing when Erdoğan assumed the presidency.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi demanded that oil revenue from the Kurdistan region be delivered to Baghdad, so that Baghdad can then pay civil workers in Kurdistan. But, the Iraqi government has a poor record of paying Kurds what is owed them. It is one of the issues that led to the referendum, and it forced the Kurds to create surreptitious means to bypass Baghdad and sell oil on the global market.

Abadi also oddly stated that he would protect the Kurds from any attack, presumably meaning from Turkey and Iran.

Dhi Qar province is reportedly expelling Kurds from the province, even those born there.

Australian authorities reported that an Australian Super Hornet may have been responsible for the death of an Iraqi child near Mosul in March.

At least 203 were killed and four were wounded:

Four civilians were killed when an old bomb exploded in Numaniya.

A booby-trapped car killed one soldier and wounded four more in Hit.

Gunmen in Mosul killed two policemen.

In Hawija, a mercenary was killed in fighting; the man, who has a long history of involvement in conflicts, was fighting with the militiamen. About 2,000 families fleeing Hawija arrived at a Peshmerga base. At least 141 militants were killed in the second day of operations to free the city.

Airstrikes left 44 militants dead in Qaim.

In Baaj, five militants were killed.

In Muqdadiya, an airstrike killed three militants.

Two suicide bombers were killed in the Hamrin Mountains.

A suicide bomber was killed in the Shirqat village of Asdira.

The Ajil and Alas oil fields were recaptured after two days of fighting.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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