Fallujah-The Anbar Salvation Council recently reported a series of violations and sectarian-fueled assaults, such as the deliberate arson of mosques and civilian homes and the break-in into Fallujah citizens’ homes. Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias were accused of carrying out the crimes after the city was made ISIS-free.
Vice President to the Anbar Salvation Council and head of the governorate’s security committee Faleh al-Issawi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that eye witnesses informed the council of several crimes and violations PMF militants staged against a number of different civilian Fallujah neighborhoods.
Residents reported that as army, tribal and police forces advance further leaving behind liberated territory, PMF militants roam free, committing crimes against Fallujah residents.
Issawi also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Fallujah mosques have been burned to the ground by militants. He added that militants’ presence in the process of freeing Fallujah was controversial to start with.
Concerning the advance into Fallujah, the Iraqi army, counterterrorism units and tribal fighters have recently launched an all-inclusive offensive in the Jolan neighborhood, which is the last Fallujah ISIS-held neighborhood, Issawi added. Jolan is considered one of the oldest and largest residential neighborhoods in Fallujah.
However, security forces find difficulty in achieving any progress in the area due to the narrow infrastructure and the fact that over 175 families remain barricaded inside their homes and used as human shields, Issawi added.
Politicians presented a case file to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, which documents all violations and crimes PMF militants committed against the people of Fallujah. Nevertheless, political sources confirmed that no reaction was perceived from PM Haider al-Abadi.
Tribe chiefs strongly accused PMF of committing violence and condemned their crimes. Sheikh Yehya al-Sonbol, one of the Anbar tribal chiefs, said that Fallujah had witnessed humanitarian crimes like many other zones, such as Jurf, Baiji and Saladin Governorate.
The chief added that the crimes led in Fallujah are to destroy the city and devastate all means to a decent living so that civilians do not return to their homes.