Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Shi’ite Militias Arrest 3,800 Displaced Citizens from Fallujah | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Civilians who fled their homes following clashes on the outskirts of Falluja, gather in a school on the outskirts of Garma, Iraq, June 2, 2016.-REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Fallujah-Al-Anbar Provincial Council warned of the continuous crimes against civilians escaping ISIS in Fallujah committed by extremist militias of Popular Mobilization Forces and other governmental forces.

Anbar Provincial Council spokesperson Athal al-Fahdawi said that the number of families leaving Fallujah have decreased after witnessing many violations. He revealed that after many families risked their lives to escape the city through Euphrates river, militias received them and separated men from the rest of the families. According to Fahdawi, militias took the men to detention where they were tortured.

Head of Anbar Provincial Council Falih al-Isawi confirmed that more than 3,800 men from Fallujah, over the age of twelve, were arrested and taken to investigation to make sure they do not belong to ISIS.

Isawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that as soon as displaced families reach security units, men are taken to detention camps for investigation, whereas women, children, and the elderly are taken to refugee camps.

He explained that 3,800 people were arrested and investigated, after which 600 were released. Investigations revealed that the remaining 450 were involved with ISIS and were taken to detention in Habbaniyah.

Isawi also said all cases will be settled within a week.

Also, 500 men who have escaped Saqlawiyah with their families are now missing and it is not clear whether they are with militias or ISIS, Isawi added.

“The huge number of Fallujah citizens killed by militias has created a trust issue between civilians trapped in Fallujah and security forces,” explained Isawi.

Isawi pleaded humanitarian organizations to help over 20 thousand refugees in Amiriyah Fallujah as they live in difficult situation amid shortage in supplies and water.

Asharq Al-Awsat met with displaced families who escaped Fallujah from ISIS control.

Mrs. Oum Adnan, 50, said: “We risked our lives to escape death. We didn’t know we went from one death to another. We almost lost our lives passing through Euphrates River to reach the security forces who promised to help, but we found otherwise. They took my husband and three children.” Oum Adnan said that it has been four days and she still knows nothing about her husband or children.

Another refugee, Oum Abdulallah 45, described the catastrophic situations in the city with the continuous pounding. “Bread is made from mash and lentils. There is no wheat. We would break our fast on bread and hot water we get from the river. Thank Allah for everything. We hope things change and the city is liberated so that we can go back home.”

Joint Military Command announced that security forces were able to invade the southern side of Fallujah and that the coming hours will witness important military results.

Joint Military Command Spokesperson Brigadier General Yayha Rasool said that: “Thursday morning, Iraqi Security Forces, Counter Terrorism, and Police Tactical Force stormed into the southern side of Fallujah from the first side of Shuhada Neighborhood after liberating the second side, killing dozens of ISIS terrorists.”