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Anbar Council Forms Committee to Release Civilians Detained by PMF Militia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A convoy of the Iraqi anti-terrorism force drives on a road during an advance towards Fallujah. Reuters

Fallujah-Local council of Amreyyat Fallujah has announced the arrival of 600 civilians who had been detained by Popular Mobilization Forces militia (PMF) after they left Fallujah, west of Baghdad.

Head of Amreyyat Falluja Council Shaker Isawi said that a number of Iraqi MPs and members of Anbar council formed a committee to work on releasing hundreds of civilians detained by the armed factions affiliated with PMF.

Isawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that about 2,500 are still in prison, including 1,400 who were arrested at Razaza crossing point, while the rest are from Fallujah after the escaped the city from ISIS.

Isawi said that Amreyyat Falluja can no longer receive more displaced citizens due to lack of aid and food supplies. In addition, he mentioned that schools and mosques are now full of civilians after welcoming over 12,000 people.

According to Isawi, the situation will result in a humanitarian crisis over the rising number of the displaced after armed men closed all roads in west Falluja, forcing civilians to head only towards Amreyyat Falluja.

Humanitarian organizations and Ministry of Migration and Displaced sent medical and food supplies to Amreyyat Falluja, as the first aid sent from Saudi Arabia reached the area. Isawi stressed that more supplies are needed.

On the other hand, a security source announced the discovery of a mass grave of over 400 persons in Saqlaweyya, north of Falluja.

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the retrieved bodies show signs of gunshots in the head. The source said that it is likely that ISIS executed civilians and Iraqi soldiers in 2014 and 2015. He added that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) retrieved the bodies for identification.

On Saturday, ISF regained control of Saqlaweyya, north of Fallujah, as part of military operations that were launched on May 23.

Commander of liberation operations of Falluja, Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahhab Saadi announced that the security forces were able to enter areas of Jubeil and Asshuhada neighborhood in Fallujah.

Saadi said that fierce clashes between security forces and ISIS are taking place in the area and the international coalition is carrying out air strikes on ISIS locations. He announced that the ISF were able to liberate Albou Hawa area, one of most important ISIS strongholds.

Meanwhile, Grand Mufti of Iraq Sheikh Mahdi Ahmad Sameedi called for unity of all Iraqis and support for security forces in their fight against terrorist groups.

Sameedi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iraqi government should exert all efforts to help the displaced and rescue those remain trapped in Fallujah.