Monday, June 30, 2014

30 June 2014

A relative calm has settled over most of the governorate during the last few hours, except for the sequence of military operations that took place in Ramadi: a number of mortar rounds have struck public marketplaces in the city, leaving 5 citizens wounded on 'Doctors' Street' in the city center. This is the second incident of its kind after the fire that swept through the market across the street.

There have also been intermittent clashes in the southern and southeastern suburban perimeter districts of the city, with the arrival of gunmen who paraded around the area, causing some residents to move out of their homes, as a result of concern over the expected resumption of gunmen activity within Ramadi after their seizure of more towns and villages in western Anbar.

The situation in Haditha is still unchanged. There was some intermittent exchange of fire between the armed groups on the town's outskirts and the security, army, and police forces that are based around the Haditha Dam. People are afraid of the consequences should the gunmen seize control of the dam.

In Ana, Rawa, Rutba, Al-Qa'im the situation has remained unchanged; gunmen are in control of most of the residential districts in those towns, while there are still some clashes from time to time, and there have been some Iraqi air force mission that have - according to the Anbar Central Command - have hit their targets with a high degree of precision.

In Fallujah, with yesterday being the first day of Ramadan, some people expected a suspension of the reconnaissance flights and air strikes on the city. But today at least 19 people were either killed or wounded as a result of the bombardment yesterday and today of a number of the city's residential districts.

To the northeast, Al-Garma has been the scene of fighting near the Al-Ru'ood Bridge in northeastern Al-Garma.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

29 June 2014

The gunmen have taken control of large areas of western Anbar, but they have now stopped outside Haditha. Some tribal sources are saying that there are negotiations underway as there does not appear to be a military solution to that standoff. They are apparently trying to buy time so that the seizure can be achieved without a fight.
They have also not taken control of Hit or of Al-Baghdadi, home to the big Ayn Al-Asad Base which is still in the hands of security forces.

There are conflicting reports about who controls the Iraq side of Trebil border crossing between Iraq and Jordan. But both the local and central governments are stating that the border crossings, such as Al-Waleed, are still secure. The Trade Ministry has confirmed that 300 trucks have safely made the journey from the Jordanian border to Baghdad.

Security sources are reaffirming that Tikrit and other Salahuddin areas will be secured within 72 hours. The main effect in Anbar is related to the humanitarian situation. Many Anbaris had fled to Salahuddin and after the events there they have been making their way back, so it is the humanitarian aspect that they care about.

28 June 2014

ISIS fighters have taken control over the western parts of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. Serious clashes between the group and Iraq’s security forces have been intermittent since late on June 27, and many residents have left several areas where fighting has raged.

ISIS militants have reportedly been preparing for a further push on the city of Ramadi from the west in order to gain full control over it. 

Security forces are getting ready to launch operations to regain control over the Al-Ta'ameen neighborhood and the Khamsa Kelo (“Kilometer Five”) enclave west of Ramadi that were recently taken by ISIS.

Large numbers of security forces have been deployed on the eastern outskirts of Ramadi city, and earthen bulwarks have been built on its northern and northeastern sides.

Seven residents were wounded in the shelling and bombardment of the Fallujah city, as there have also been wounded in the town of Al-Garma northeast of Fallujah.

Some sources say the administrator (qaim-maqam) of Haditha district has escaped to the Kurdistan Region today. A subsequent tribal meeting has elected a new administrator, Abdul-Hakim al-Jughayfi, who previously occupied this post in 2003-2004. ISIS does not control the city but its militants control all the areas surrounding Haditha on all sides.

Iraqi security forces have killed 3 militants in a foiled ISIS attack aimed at imposing control over the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates River. The dam is currently, though, still in the hands of Iraqi government forces.

In the early morning today, the Syrian Air Force bombed the University Hospital in the town of Ana, damaging the buildings of school's reception and emergency department. The bombings did not cause any casualties.

Iraq’s security forces announced that they are in control of the border crossings into Jordan and Syria, respectively, though that claim cannot be independently confirmed. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

27 June 2014

There has been a marked advance by the gunmen in taking control of large portions of the western Anbar townships. They are now in control of Al-Qa'im, Ana, Rawa, and the areas around Haditha. They have also seized control of Rutba. They are also moving swiftly toward the perimeter of Al-Baghdadi which is near the Ayn Al-Asad military base which is one of the biggest bases in Iraq. There are also fears of a surprise attack to seize these areas.

Security precautions are underway, such as security forces reinforcements, to the Haditha Dam which is one of the biggest in Iraq, where army forces opened five additional sluice gates on Wednesday, resulting in a rise in water levels of the Euphrates River, the cutting of several smaller bridges, and flooding along the river banks.

There is also concern over the escalation of the security situation in Ramadi, after gunmen took control of the previously quiet Al-Ta'ameem district, and the torching of the Al-Shaheed police station in western Ramadi. The gunmen are now fully in control of those areas, and they are still approaching the Anbar Operations Command compound.

In Fallujah, the General Hospital announced that 5 residents were killed and 7 were wounded as a result of the shelling of several residential districts, Al-Sichir to the north, and Al-Nu'aimiya in southwestern Fallujah.

To the northeast, in Al-Garma, military operations are still ongoing along the Tigris River branch and at the April 28th Bridge that connects Al-Garma to Fallujah.
There is still fear that the gunmen will seize control of most of Anbar, the largest Iraqi governorate (138,000 square kilometers) that borders three neighboring countries and four Iraqi governorates. The fear is that the fall of Anbar would lead to the gunmen's ability to move on into these other governorates and cause trouble in the neighboring countries.

Late last night, Syrian military aircraft launched light attacks on border posts, but we have yet to hear about the results or the casualty count. The local Anbar government has issued statements expressing surprise at the Syrian incursions into Iraqi airspace. The local government is still conducting meetings with tribal sheikhs and leaders, seeking at least an attempt to find a belated solution.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

26 June 2014

The most significant development in Ramadi today has been the penetration of the gunmen toward the Anbar Operations Command in western Ramadi. The gunmen have now surrounded the Command and are about 1.5 kilometers away, having seized the Al-Shaheed police station in Al-Ta'ameem District. They are now on their way to capturing the most important military site in Anbar Governorate.
Meanwhile, army forces have opened five sluice gates at the Haditha Dam in western Anbar. The resulting rise in water levels has breached the Alous pontoon bridge, and has flooded a large number of residential homes along the banks of the Euphrates River. There is growing concern over the likelihood of of a major clash between the gunmen surrounding Haditha and the joint Awakenings and security forces that are still holding the Haditha Dam.

Syrian regime military aircraft have today attacked areas along the border in the boundary region between Nineveh and Anbar governorates.

In Fallujah, a medical source has announced that 3 citizens have been killed and 2 others wounded in the fierce clashes in the Al-Hayakil district of southern Fallujah and in the renewed shelling of the central and northern districts of the city.

There are also reports that the head of the Anbar Council's security Committee, Ahmed Hameed Sharqi has disappeared along with his family. This is in line with the departure of Anbar officials to Kurdistan or out of Iraq, fearing the imminent exacerbation of the situation in Anbar. The situation here is indeed frightening following the gunmen's successes in the rapid capture of the governorate's vital locations and facilities.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

25 June 2014

In western Anbar, local citizens in Rutba held funeral processions for the 22 people who were killed in the Syrian air raids yesterday. In Al-Qa'im, similar procesions were held for 11 people who were killed in the bombardment of the border areas between Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile the groups of gunmen were advancing toward areas closer to the governorate seat in Ramadi; they seized control of Burwana, a village attached to Haditha township. The gunmen are in full control of the areas on the outskirts of Haditha, but so far there have not been any clashes between the gunmen and the security forces supported by tribal fighters within the town.

In Fallujah, 6 residents have been wounded by the shelling of a number of the city's districts, particularly Al-Sichir to the north and several of the city's central districts. Some families have been heading out of the city because of the ongoing shelling.

Gunmen wearing army uniforms assaulted the Al-Jazeera area of Ramadi where they seized a number of residential houses. Intermittent clashes have been occurring in those areas of central Ramadi. Although clashes have been taking place, the groups of gunmen representing a number of factions are advancing from one region of Anbar to the next, moving eastward from Al-Qa'im to Ana, Rawa, Rutba, to the perimeter around Haditha. There are indications that the gunmen will be able to take Haditha within the coming hours.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

24 June 2014

The most important development is the aerial bombardment by Syrian regime planes of a number of border positions in Al-Qa'im including the town's central marketplace, killing 17 and wounding 30. These attacks are the second in two days.
In the early hours of this morning, gunmen took control of Haditha township in western Anbar in addition to a village lying between Haditha and Al-Baghdadi. The gunmen were not opposed by any forces, either tribal or military.

In Fallujah today, 7 people were killed and 11 were wounded in renewed clashes and the resumption of shelling on the central, northern, and northeastern districts of the city. Al-Garma and its surroundings has been the scene of intermittent clashes between the gunmen and the army forces which, according to security sources, are preparing a major operation in Anbar to regain the areas seized by the gunmen. But the situation on the ground is that the gunmen are controlling 80% - 85% of Anbar's land area. They appear to be expecting signals to move on Ramadi and to seize total control of the city.
The gunmen, wearing civilian clothes and carrying light weapons appear to be accepted by the residents in those areas.

Up to right now, central Haditha and central Hit are the only towns that the gunmen have not entered. Some sources are reporting that the self-styled 'armed factions' are coordinating among themselves the seizure of the entire governorate, from Fallujah in the east to Al-Qa'im in the west.

Monday, June 23, 2014

23 June 2014

Since the early hours of this morning, there have been intermittent clashes on the outskirts of Fallujah along the main highway, as well as in the outskirts of Al-Garma. The casualty count since last night and up to noontime today shows that 4 residents, including 2 women and a child, have been killed and 7 others have been wounded as a result of the shelling of a number of the city's residential districts, including Al-Nu'aimiya in the southern sector and Al-Sichir in the northeast.

In the western Anbar regions, the gunmen have now increased their strength and the extent of the areas they control, that now include large parts of Ana, Rawa, and Al-Qa'im. They are now moving to the east toward Haditha and there is speculation about their intention to seize that township within the next few hours or days.

Security and army sources have declared that the recent withdrawals of their forces are 'tactical', probably to allow their re-supply and re-grouping. On the ground, however, most of the comments relate to recent burglaries and to insurgents' total control of the areas they have attacked.

In Ramadi, there are some families returning to the city's central and northern districts that have been relatively calm during the last two days. Cell-phone service has been restored but some Internet providers have been resorting to satellite relays; government Internet providers are still not functioning in Anbar, nor in a number of other governorates.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

22 June 2014

Iraqi army units have withdrawn from the westernmost border crossing in Anbar. Syrian air force planes launched air attacks at several gunmen positions in the no-man's-land along the road between Iraq and Syria, at Al-Waleed.

Meanwhile, the towns of Ana, Rawa, and Al-Qai'm are now completely in the gunmen's hands. This morning, Rutba awoke to find that the military units there have withdrawn, leaving the gunmen in control of all the town's vital installations. Observers are now estimating that about 80% of Anbar governorate is under the control of the gunmen. However in Hit and Haditha townships, where the tribal Awakenings are active, more than 5,000 tribal fighters took part in a military parade in the townships.

In Ramadi, there have been intermittent clashes in the area around Anbar University and the western sector of the city.

In Fallujah, the city is still surrounded but gunmen who had seized control of the Al-Maftoul crossing have now removed all the concrete barricades, allowing a significant number of residents to return to their homes even though their residential districts are still being randomly shelled. The casualty figures for yesterday and up to noontime today show that at least 4 residents have been killed and 11 have been wounded by the resumption of the shelling of a number of the city's districts.

Speculation is continuing about the ability of the gunmen to seize control of the whole governorate, that would threaten imminent military operations along the administrative boundary between Anbar and Baghdad Governorate, given that the Al-Garma and Fallujah junction is no more than 60 km from the capital.

Political activity is still seeking a way out of the crisis, but it is difficult to foresee the effect of the events in Salahuddin, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Diyala, given that the gunmen are using their vehicles to maintain control of the roads in the areas between Anbar, Nineveh, and, Salahuddin.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

21 June 2014

In the western Anbar towns that have recently been relatively calm, yesterday a mortar round fell in the vicinity of Col. Majeed Al-Fahdawi, the commander of the Iraqi army's 28th Border Guards Brigade, killing him on the spot and wounding 4 of his entourage. Meanwhile, since last night, army units have withdrawn, enabling the gunmen to seize the border crossing at Al-Qa'im on the Syrian border. On the Syrian side, the Deir el-Zor area of the border is also under the control of ISIL gunmen.
Also yesterday, other border villages along the Iraqi-Syrian border were also seized by the gunmen.
A security source has said that the Al-Qa'im region has been the scene of fierce clashes that have left at least 34 Iraqi army personnel killed, allowing the gunmen to take control of the region.

The western townships of Rawa and Ana are also now controlled by gunmen who, after a few brief clashes forced the withdrawal of the army units toward the souther desert regions. Security sources are reporting that the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command, at the juncture between Anbar and Nineveh Governorates, is besieged by the gunmen.

In Ana township, one of the calmest in Anbar, everyone was surprised by the withdrawal of army, police, and security units. There were some burglaries, but local tribesmen and civil leaders came out and took over all the government and public offices in the area. The security situation is still confused and citizens are still afraid in the face of the speedy takeover by the gunmen of the previously quiet western regions. Many residents of Al-Qa'im have been making their way to what are perceived as safer areas in Anbar, but they are finding that events on the ground are deteriorating faster than they can move.

In Ramadi, clashes are continuing after gunmen seized the countryside areas that have been calm so far.

In Saqlawiya, 30 km outside Fallujah, intermittent clashes were followed by explosions and aerial bombardment of parts of the township.

In Fallujah today, aerial strikes have targeted various districts, and there have been clashes along the main highway and on into the southern and southwestern sectors of the city. Residents are still on the move, fearing the outcome of the clashes and military operations and the shelling. Five residents, comprising one family - a man, two women and two children -, were killed when their car was hit in an aerial attack.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

15 June 2014

Gunmen have attempted to storm the electric power Al-Tahaddi Project which supplies Anbar governorate and wide areas of Baghdad and other governorates with electricity. It is one of the biggest in Iraq. The gunmen attempted to storm and seize the facility which is located between the towns of Al-Baghdadi and Haditha in western Anbar, but they were met by fierce resistance from the forces guarding the project. Five gunmen were killed and 3 others were wounded, according to confirmed security sources. 

Artillery shells and rockets have hit the Ayn Al-Asad military base, one of the biggest in Iraq, in Al-Baghdadi, and is home to the army's 7th Division.

Stringent precautionary measures are in effect as a result of intelligence reports indicating that the groups of gunmen are planning to overrun the western regions of Anbar (Haditha, Ana, Rawa, Hit, and Al-Baghdadi) that have recently been relatively calm.

In Ramadi, tough security measures are being imposed by security forces , particularly in the city's southern sector where intermittent clashes are still erupting between these forces and the gunmen.

In Fallujah yesterday, a number of the city's districts, as well as Al-Sichir to the north and Al-Nu'aimiya to the south, came under shelling attacks. Initial casualty reports show that 4 residents were killed and 6 were wounded by the shelling.

In Al-Garma, northeast of Fallujah, clashes are still underway and spreading into the outlying areas around the town. Homes and buildings have been hit, but there are no casualty figures as of right now.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

14 June 2014

In Al-Saqlawiya, a township west of Fallujah, has been since yesterday the scene of an operation that began with the targeting of the township seat building with two car bombs. The five-storey building has also been a stronghold of the security forces; we do not yet know the outcome of the attack or the number of casualties it caused. Meanwhile, the gunmen have seized control of large areas of the township following the withdrawal of some security units. However, security forces are still holding numerous areas around the township and are at this time involved in regaining control of the township, with some sources indicating that a security operation will be launched during the next few hours to re-take Al-Saqlawiya.

In Fallujah, shelling of the city's central and northern districts has been ongoing since last night. A source at the Fallujah General Hospital has announced that 4 residents have been killed and 7 others, including women and children, have been wounded.

The town of Al-Qaim in western Anbar has been relatively calm and is still under the control of security forces supported by local police, tribal elements, and townspeople. Meanwhile, ISIL gunmen have seized the border facility on the Syrian side of the border. On the Iraqi side, and after the withdrawal of government forces, the border area is under the control of tribal forces cooperating with the local police. However, the border is more than 600 km long and there are numerous groups of gunmen moving back and forth across the border.

In Al-Garma, fierce intermittent clashes have been underway, and shelling has struck government buildings and some residential homes. We do not yet have any casualty figures from the town.

In Ramadi, although the city is relatively calm, security sources are saying that military operations are underway in the city's southern sector and that they would shortly secure the area. In spite of the optimistic tone of the security reports, large numbers of residents are still moving out of Fallujah, Al-Saqlawiya, and the southern and southwestern districts of Ramadi; they are mostly heading for Hit which has so far taken in more than 70,000 displaced people, a number equal to the town's population, exacerbating the difficulties faced by this township.

Events in Mosul and the neighboring Salahuddin governorate have had their effect on Anbar. The reported capture by the gunmen of the Baiji oil refinery has resulted in huge shortages in petroleum products, in addition to huge rises in the prices of foodstuffs and vegetables. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

13 June 2014

After several days of intermittent fighting in a number of Ramadi's districts, the city awoke today to find a limited curfew in place on a number of dispersed districts. Also today, some families have left their homes in a number of districts after clashes resulted in the wounding of at least 5 residents.

On Thursday, gunmen seized full control of Al-Kubaisa township, west of Ramadi, after a confrontation between army forces and the gunmen; the fighting resulted in the withdrawal of the army forces from their posts, leaving Al-Kubaisa in the hands of the gunmen.

Gunmen also tried to take over the nearby Al-Baghdadi township.

The border region with Syria at Al-Qaim has been abandoned by the army and the border forces. Gunmen launched an attack on the border customs positions, killing 4 army personnel; all army, customs, and border units then completely withdrew. Tribal forces have now formed units charged with protecting the border.

Meanwhile, clashes have intensified in Fallujah since yesterday. Two people, one of them a woman, were killed and 3 were wounded by the ongoing shelling of both Fallujah and Al-Garma

Thursday, June 12, 2014

12 June 2014

In Fallujah, gunmen have succeeded in seizing the Al-Maftoul crossing which is the only access point into and out of Fallujah. It had been under the control of Iraqi forces, but after violent clashes yesterday the gunmen succeeded this morning in capturing the crossing. They have removed the concrete barriers and are now operating the crossing.
Within Fallujah, the northeastern areas of the city were the scene of intermittent clashes, especially in Al-Sichir and along the Baghdad highway.
A source at the Fallujah General Hospital has just announced that 2 people have been killed and 4 others wounded in the shelling of several residential districts.

In Al-Garma, northeast of Fallujah, shelling has been continuous since last night and into this morning. The targeted districts have also been the scene of fierce clashes between military forces and the gunmen inside the town.

In Ramadi, a local government official announced today that an extended meeting between the Anbar governor and security commanders in Anbar. The meeting centered on altering the situation from its present defensive mode into an offensive mode, in order to re-establish control over all of Ramadi. Areas outside Ramadi, on Al-Khalidiya Island are still the scene of intermittent clashes. No casualty count has yet been announced.

In Hit, army engineers were able to disarm a car bomb that had been parked next to a garage. The other western regions of Anbar are under strict security measures following confirmed reports of the gunmen's plans to assault the western towns, along the lines of what took place in Salahuddin, Nineveh, and some parts of Kirkuk.

Some units of the Iraqi army's Border Guards have been withdrawn, in a sudden and surprise move, from the areas along the border with Syria.
Meanwhile, volunteer tribal forces have taken up arms and are protecting the border strip against any infiltration by Iraqis or non-Iraqis.

Generally, citizens are concerned and afraid that the security situation in Anbar will deteriorate, in a similar way to what has already happened in the other Iraqi governorates bordering Anbar.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

11 June 2014

Starting with Tikrit, the provincial capital of Salahuddin Governorate, ISIL gunmen have entered the city today and taken full control. The initial penetration came from the city's eastern side from which they spread out and took control of the entire city. As we speak, the gunmen have seized the holding jail in the city and have released all the prisoners being held there.

Meanwhile in Ramadi and Fallujah, Ramadi's residential districts are relatively calm but there have been some intermittent clashes in the city's southern sector after the gunmen were able to regain control of several districts there. Elsewhere, some residents have been returning to their relatively calm districts. A similar calm has also settled over the city's northern districts.

In Fallujah, a medical source has announced that 4 residents have been killed and 6 others wounded as a result of the resumption of shelling since last night, through noontime today. More mass migrations are underway in Fallujah as a result of the continuing military operations in the city.

In Al-Garma, northeast of Fallujah, has been under heavy shelling since last night and through noontime today.

In Hit township, a curfew has been in effect since last night after reports indicated that the gunmen are planning to seize control of the township, as has taken place in Nineveh and Salahuddin Governorates. However, security forces have announced today that they have thwarted that attempt on Hit.

In Anbar's western regions along the boundary with Salahuddin, stringent security measures are being adopted in order to foil any attempt at repeating what took place in Ramadi and Fallujah which fell to the gunmen.

With regard to the conference that is to be held on June 20th, a preparatory committee has been formed by the Anbar local government, and invitations have been issued to a large number of religious and tribal figures to attend the conference in Baghdad.

Another conference will take place in the middle of next week, and is described as being in preparation for the Baghdad conference and will be held in Ramadi. The aim is to agree on the issues that will be presented to the central government.

The armed groups now appear to be preparing to expand their operations after seizing Tikrit in order to take control of broader regions that are still being held by security forces, but official sources are all confirming that Tikrit is now totally under the control of the gunmen, and that all military, security, and police forces have withdrawn, leaving behind their weapons and equipment. These have been taken over by the gunmen who have also burned down many of the police stations and security vehicles in the area they now control.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

10 June 2014

Military, security, and local police forces in Anbar, particularly in the regions bordering on Salahuddin Governorate, have adopted security measures as a precaution against the spillover of the situations in Salahuddin and Nineveh into the secure regions of western Anbar.

Meanwhile, military operations are still underway in Fallujah which has been shelled since last night and through noontime today. An initial casualty count shows that 4 residents have been killed and 7 others have been wounded in several of the city's districts.
Two bridges have been blown up: the one connecting Fallujah city with the Amiriyat Al-Fallujah township in the city's southern sector; the second, known as Al-Ibra Bridge, connects Amiriyat Al-Fallujah with Baghdad. Both are vitally important bridges and are main access routes into and out of Fallujah.

In Ramadi, there were violent clashes last night in connection with the escalation of fighting in the areas around Anbar University between gunmen and the security forces, as well as in areas that had been under the control of security forces and to which the gunmen have now returned.

In the continuing civilian exodus from Ramadi and Fallujah, more than 320 families have today moved out of their homes on their way to Hit township in western Ramadi where they were received by some of the humanitarian organizations, and they are now housed in school buildings under very difficult living conditions. With the onslaught of the summer heat and with the approach of Ramadan they are still calling for relief aid.

Monday, June 9, 2014

09 June 2014

Last night in Ramadi, gunmen blew up the central oil distribution center. This vital facility is operated by the local government. The fires raged for many hours, into this morning. Civil defense forces and fire brigades were able to put out the fires.

Also today, gunmen blew up the Al-Bzaizeez bridge that links Fallujah city with Amiriyat Al-Fallujah and is considered to be a vital bridge in the southern region of Fallujah. An explosives-laden boat was detonated on the Euphrates River as it crashed into the bridge pylons, causing the bridge to collapse, but without causing any casualties.

There were military operations and fierce clashes in Fallujah and Al-Garma. A family that was about to leave Al-Garma was hit by shelling that killed all 6 of the family members. Seven other people were wounded by the shelling, and there was major damage to civilian buildings, schools, and to the town's infrastructure.

Two women were killed in Fallujah and 4 others were wounded by the ongoing indiscriminate shelling of a number of the city's residential districts.

The Anbar University in Ramadi was the scene of fierce and violent fighting; a security source has revealed that gunmen are still holding at least 15 of the university's teaching staff as hostages. Intermittent clashes are still going on in the university grounds. The source added that the gunmen have stolen 15 billion dinars (about $1.28 million) from the university.

Politically, there have been statements indicating that agreement has been reached with the central government on the timing of the general conference that was called by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. It has been scheduled for June 20th and will be aimed at resolving the Anbar crisis. The local government has called on all political entities and tribal leaders to attend, pointing out that there will be no 'red lines' applied to any individuals, even those who took up arms against the security forces; they can all attend and take part in the conference.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

08 June 2014

Ramadi has been much quieter today in comparison with the preceding days that saw the students at Anbar University becoming embroiled in the security-related events in Ramadi city. 
A huge fire has engulfed and destroyed most of the shops and businesses on Al-Shorja Street, the main wholesale market in the city center. No casualties have been reported but the material and structural damage is huge. The fire was caused by the nearby fighting between gunmen and army forces that included shelling of the vicinity, and fire quickly spread and destroyed an estimated 100 shops and businesses and some public facilities in the market area.
Also today, one of the homes of Dr. Abdul-Malik Al-Sa'adi in central Ramadi was set ablaze in the second incident of its kind involving a residence belonging to the religious scholar. Today's fire was the work of unknown attackers; the residence was unoccupied and there were no injuries reported.
Ramadi's residential districts have been relatively calm today but gunmen are still holding the square-shaped area in the southern/southeastern sector of the city; security forces have been unable to move into the area.

In Fallujah, the General Hospital announced that 2 elderly women have been killed by mortar fire that struck their central-Fallujah home.

According to UN estimates announced today, more than 486,000 families have been displaced from Ramadi and Fallujah. They are now facing harsh living conditions and are calling on the central and local governments to seek urgent solutions and to provide them with relief aid.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

07 June 2014

At 06:30 this morning, gunmen attacked and seized the Anbar University building in southwestern Ramadi after fierce clashes that continued for several hours. Three university guards were killed at the main entrance to the university campus. The gunmen also blew up the bridge connecting the university with Ramadi city, causing severe structural damage. There were more than 1,000 students in the buildings during the six-hour battle; fortunately, this took place on a Saturday, when classes are limited at all of the university's colleges. College administration and teaching staff were able to open a gate in the campus' security fence, allowing all the students to reach the 5 km district. Up to this minute security forces are saying that some of the buildings are in the hands of the gunmen, but army and police forces have not resorted to shelling them. There are however intermittent clashes taking place, especially at the Political Science College building, as well as at the university's administration building. 
There was also an armed confrontation and the detonation of two car bombs driven by suicide bombers in the 'Ceramic' district that is adjacent to the Anbar University district. Security forces say that they have not recorded any deaths among the university students or the teaching staff. Security precautions are in place around the university's perimeter.

At dawn today, a security source in Haditha township in western Anbar announced that ISIL gunmen using more than 35 all-terrain vehicles and carrying medium and heavy weapons attempted an assault on Haditha from both its western and northeastern approaches, but they were met head-on by security forces that prevented them from entering the town.

In Fallujah, fierce clashes erupted today in the outlying districts of the city. A medical source at the Fallujah General Hospital has confirmed that 6 people, including 4 children were wounded by the shelling of the city.
The UN has announced that there are more than 5,000 families inside Fallujah who are unable to leave the city because of their lack of financial and other material resources.

The Anbar Governorate Council held a number of meetings and emergency conferences today to discuss the latest initiative proposed by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.

In Samarra, 130 km from Anbar in Salahuddin governorate, life was almost normal today and the curfew has been lifted in most of the city. Observers say that activity within the city is normal. The final casualty count after the two days of fighting shows that 43 people were either killed or wounded in the fighting. 
An important issue is that the displaced Anbaris who sought refuge in Samarra over more than 4 months are now facing being displaced yet again, either to other Salahuddin townships or to western townships of Anbar

Samarra Military Command forces announced today that they have killed at least 22 suspected ISIL gunmen in various areas within Samarra, thus trying to avoid the recurrence of the gunmen's infiltration into the township. 
The local Samarra Council has stressed that it will do whatever it can to prevent such an eventuality, and promising the residents that it would reinforce its defensive capabilities to achieve that end. Samarra residents are dismayed by the burning down of most of the town's business and trading establishments, and by the fact that many businesses were looted. Local residents are saying that 7 people were killed by the SWAT forces that were sent in to the township, but security forces have, of course, denied that such an incident had taken place. Salahuddin Council is expected to launch an investigation into the incident, particularly as 7 bodies have indeed been found, 2 of whom are Anbari refugees, apparently shot to death.

Friday, June 6, 2014

06 June 2014

A curfew has been imposed on Ramadi as a precaution against the possibility of armed assaults similar to those that targeted Samarra in Salahuddin governorate yesterday. The same is true in Mosul in Nineveh governorate.

In Fallujah, intermittent clashes have been going on since last night and into this afternoon in a number of the city's districts, especially in Al-Sichir and Al-Nu'aimiya. A number of districts have also been shelled. An initial casualty count shows that 3 children under the sge of twelve have been killed.

There has been total support expressed at meetings held between the local Anbar government and tribal sheikhs and religious scholars for the conference called for by Nouri Al-Maliki to address and resolve the Anbar situation.

In Samarra today, a curfew is still in force because of concerns over a return of the gunmen to the city. The Air Force has reported that 82 sorties have killed at least 17 ISIL gunmen in the city.

In the northern region of Mosul in Nineveh governorate, military operations were underway today. Two car bombs were detonated in an area populated mainly by Shabak residents. The military action is aimed at regaining and imposing control over most of Mosul city, after the gunmen succeeded in taking over a number of the city's districts.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

05 June 2014

The contagion in Anbar seems to have spread to Salahuddin governorate, and the only crossing that was available for Anbaris on their way to Baghdad has been closed in Samarra, one of biggest districts in Salahuddin, with a population of more than 500,000 inhabitants.
Since 04:00 a.m. today, more than 150 ISIL gunmen have been able to seize control of the eastern parts of Samarra - about 40% of the province. Army and police forces withdrew suddenly from the checkpoints in those areas. Some police and army vehicles were burned and an initial count shows that 55 people - mostly police and army personnel - have been killed or wounded in Samarra. A very large re-enforcement operation is underway to Samarra, and air raids have been launched against some of the groups of gunmen within the city. The security situation is in a state of confusion, while security forces have imposed a curfew on Samarra, as well as on several other districts in the governorate as a precautionary measure to prevent a security collapse such as that which took place in Samarra. Security forces are also stating that they will re-establish control within the next few hours.

In Fallujah, the civilian exodus is still underway and the city will soon be emptied of its civilian inhabitants. Dr. Ahmed Al-Shami, the senior resident at the Fallujah General Hospital, announced today that the shelling of Fallujah has since last night killed 8 residents and wounded 10 others, among them 4 women and 2 children.

An important development has been the shooting down of an aircraft ; it crashed in the Al-Sichir, northeast of Fallujah, according to eyewitness reports.

Some Ramadi areas are relatively calm and other areas are tense, with occasional widely-dispersed gunfire. We have observed the return of more than 6,000 residents to their homes in some of the districts of central and west-central Ramadi.

The conference called by Nouri Al-Maliki aimed at getting the displaced families home for the month of Ramadan is still being supported by some and rejected by others. Both the residents and the local government have rejected plans to build new residential districts to replace those that have been severely damaged; the districts are being described as historically important. They are also concerned that they will lose money by giving up their centrally located homes by being moved out into the city's outlying areas.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

04 June 2014

Since the early hours of this morning, funeral processions have been underway for the 9 people who were killed in last night's explosions, among them Sheikh Muhammad Abu Risha, the leader of the Ramadi Awakenings (Sahwat).
After the blowing up and collapse of the Al-Ma'moun and 'Japanese' bridges, the Directorate-General of Bridge in Anbar announced that at least 30 of the 80 bridges in Anbar have now been blown up, and that repairs will take more than year and cost more than 5 billion Dinars.

Meanwhile, living conditions in Fallujah are still very difficult as a result of the military operations that have intensified over the past two days. Initial casualty figures today show that at least 20 people have been killed and at least 40 others have been wounded in the continuing indiscriminate shelling of the city's residential districts. The chief resident at the Fallujah General Hospital has stated that this is the 19th time that his facility has been hit by mortar fire. Five medical personnel were killed in the latest attack.

In Ramadi, families have been returning to their homes in the central Al-Jumhouri and Al-Shurta districts where the situation has been calm recently.

This is in contrast to the situation in Fallujah, where we have observed the departure of at least 100 families from the city's southern sector and from Al-Nu'aimiya, also to the south. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

03 June 2014

In Ramadi, since last night two bridges have been blown up: the first was the 'Japanese' bridge that connects Ramadi to the western Anbar townships. The second was the Al-Ma'amoun bridge that connects the town of Al-Hamidhiya to the Juwayda area of northeastern Ramadi. The two bridges are important arteries in northeastern Ramadi. There were no casualties in either location but both bridges were heavily damaged.

In Fallujah today, the emergency area at the Fallujah General Hospital was randomly shelled. At least 10 people were killed and 18 others were wounded in the crowded emergency section.
Meanwhile, the boarding facilities of Fallujah University's College of Agriculture were hit today by random gunfire. Nobody was hurt but there was panic among the students. Classes have been suspended at the university.

There have also been heavy clashes in various parts of Fallujah, especially in Al-Sichir and Al-Nu'aimiya, as well as some of the city's central residential districts.

To the northeast, Al-Garma is still the scene of fierce fighting as army forces supported by tribal and security forces attempted an incursion into the town but are being held by fierce resistance within the town.

Monday, June 2, 2014

02 June 2014

In Fallujah, as the military operations continue in the residential areas, the number of casualties has reached 22 killed, 12 of them children and 5 women, and 36 wounded.

The fierce clashes between the Iraqi security forces and insurgents continue also in Hayakil, Al-Sichir, Al-Jughayfi, Al-Askari, Al-Nazal and Al-Nu’aimiya.

In Ramadi, most of its areas previously under the control of insurgents is now under the control of the Iraqi security forces. The Anbar Police and the Anbar Operations Command confirm their belief that the situation in Ramadi will only improve.

Today, hundreds of the Anbar University students demonstrated to express their anger as their fellow female student Sama Laith had been shot dead by a stray bullet yesterday while doing her final exams in the classroom of the Faculty of Agriculture. The local security forces promised to investigate the crime.

01 June 2014

Public has been shocked by the killing of a female student in Ramadi University’s Faculty of Agriculture, in downtown Ramadi, when a stray bullet broke the window of a hall during final examinations and hit her in the neck. A male student has been injured in the shooting. It is believed the stray shots came from the Iraqi military that was operating in the area.

Relatively fierce clashes have continued in the southern parts of Ramadi city, especially in the Bakr and Hawz neighborhoods, in addition to parts of the area known as “Street 20” (Shari’ Ishrin) and the Mal’ab neighborhood.

Previously displaced due to the armed conflict, some families are now moving back to the relatively calmer neighborhoods of Jumhuri and Mu’allimin, in addition to the areas known as “Post Office Street” (Shari’ al-Barid) and “Depot Street” (Shari’ al-Mustawda’).

In Fallujah, fierce clashes continue in the area known as Hayakil, which is a compound of unfinished buildings in the property of Fallujah University. Iraqi forces has continued with intense air strikes and artillery shelling throughout the city. The toll has been 7 dead and 13 injured.

Some of the internally displaced people who have sought refuge in Hit city have demonstrated today for a solution to the Anbar crisis that has entered the sixth month. Situated in the calmer western parts of Anbar province, Hit city now accommodates some 70 thousand refugees, mainly from Fallujah city and its surroundings.