Thursday, July 30, 2015

Battle To Retake Iraq’s Anbar Province Continues


The operation to retake Anbar province entered into its second week. Whenever there has been a large military offensive the press tends to concentrate on it, while neglecting security incidents in the rest of the country. That has resulted in two weeks with a very low number of attacks being recorded. That also usually means a drop in casualties, but three press reports gave a small glimpse into the losses in Anbar that kept those statistics up. The Baghdad’s forces are making steady progress in the governorate, although official propaganda often exaggerates how much.

From July 22-28, 2015 there were only 111 security incidents in the media. That was just around the 109 reported the week before. In comparison there were 162 attacks the first week of July and 140 the next. The reason for the drop in incidents was the major offensive going on in Anbar. That has sucked up all the media’s attention and the rest of the country is being neglected as a result. There are always more attacks then what gets into the news, but that is especially true during major military action.

As usual Baghdad had the most incidents with 52. Anbar had 37, Salahaddin 18, Diyala 14, Ninewa 10, 4 each in Dohuk and Kirkuk, 3 in Babil, 2 in Basra, and 1 in Sulaymaniya.

Despite the low number of reported attacks there were high casualties in the third week of July. 527 were killed and 590 wounded. This was due to the heavy fighting in Anbar where 311 were reported dead and 173 wounded. Because the government does not report its losses in most combat situations the real numbers are much higher for the province. After that there were 84 dead in Baghdad, 68 in Salahaddin, 18 in Diyala, 20 in Ninewa, 12 in Dohuk, 8 in Kirkuk, 4 in Babil, and one each in Diyala and Sulaymaniya.

The 527 fatalities were made up of 1 Peshmerga, 4 Sahwa, 12 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, 145 Hashd al-Shaabi, 170 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 195 civilians.

The 590 wounded consisted of 1 Peshmerga, 4 Sahwa, 13 PKK fighters, 78 ISF, 130 Hashd, and 364 civilians.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan 1-7
189
466
464
Jan 8-14
172
733
518
Jan 15-21
189
403
528
Jan 22-28
195
492
899
Jan 29-31
91
306
568
JAN
836
2,400
2,977
Feb 1-7
155
408
688
Feb 8-14
177
443
566
Feb 15-21
169
592
383
Feb 22-28
171
391
705
FEB
672
1,834
2,342
Mar 1-7
176
373
595
Mar 8-14
137
398
656
Mar 15-21
146
1,304
505
Mar 22-28
174
273
406
Mar 29-31
72
205
219
MAR
705
2,553 + 4
2,381 + 150
Apr 1-7
127
218
422
Apr 8-14
137
676
542
Apr 15-21
172
729
717
Apr 22-28
163
497
483
Apr 29-30
50
162 + 7
182 + 299
APR
649
2,282
2,346
May 1-7
154
626
450
May 8-14
154
420
549
May 15-21
124
963
387
May 22-28
108
341 + 1,499
348
May 29-31
38
66
164 + 646
MAY
578
2,416 + 1,499
1,898 + 646
Jun 1-7
132
431
476
Jun 8-14
126
522 + 405
394
Jun 15-21
141
365
373
Jun 22-28
162
306
474
Jun 29-30
61
122
189
JUN
622
1,804
2,012
Jul 1-7
162
436
725
Jul 8-14
140
384
570
Jul 15-21
109
359
597 + 4,024
Jul 22-28
111
527
590

Violence In Iraq July 2015 by Province
Province
July 1-7
July 8-14
Anbar
42 Incidents
216 Killed: 17 ISF, 19 Hashd, 180 Civilians
287 Wounded: 16 ISF, 20 Hashd, 251 Civilians
23 Shootings
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Car Bomb
4 Mortars
2 Rockets
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
18 Car Bombs Destroyed
32 Incidents
100 Killed: 24 ISF, 76 Civilians
135 Wounded: 9 ISF, 126 Civilians
14 Shootings
15 IEDs
17 Suicide Car Bombs
4 Mortars
1 Rockets
22 Suicide Bombers Killed
4 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
22 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
4 Incidents
7 Killed: 7 Civilians
15 Wounded: 15 Civilians
3 IEDs
5 Incidents
4 Killed: 4 Civilians
25 Wounded: 2 ISF, 23 Civilians
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
Baghdad
56 Incidents
112 Killed: 3 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 92 Civilians
282 Wounded: 6 Hashd, 12 Sahwa, 28 ISF, 236 Civilians
14 Shootings
28 IEDs
5 Sticky Bombs
5 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
53 Incidents
140 Killed: 2 Hashd, 29 ISF, 109 Civilians
336 Wounded: 13 ISF, 323 Civilians
11 Shootings
28 IEDs
6 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Car Bomb
6 Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Basra
1 Incident
1 IED
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
5 Incidents
13 Killed: 2 Hashd, 11 Civilians
22 Wounded: 22 Civilians
2 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
12 Incidents
19 Killed: 2 ISF, 3 Hashd, 14 Civilians
25 Wounded: 4 ISF, 21 Civilians
3 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Sticky Bombs
1 Car Bomb
Kirkuk
10 Incidents
9 Killed: 3 Civilians, 6 Peshmerga
33 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 32 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
1 IED
4 Incidents
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Mortar
Ninewa
15 Incidents
31 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 30 Civilians
4 Wounded: 4 Peshmerga
9 Shootings
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
12 Incidents
54 Killed: 10 ISF, 44 Civilians
7 Wounded: 7 Civilians
8 Shootings
Salahaddin
29 Incidents
48 Killed: 5 Civilians, 19 ISF, 24 Hashd
82 Wounded: 9 ISF, 35 Civilians, 38 Hashd
10 Shootings
7 IEDs
8 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Rocket
10 Suicide Bombers Killed
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
20 Incidents
65 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 7 Hashd, 13 Civilians, 44 ISF
40 Wounded: 10 Hashd, 15 ISF, 15 Civilians
9 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
9 Car Bombs Destroyed
Wasit
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 ISF
2 Wounded: 2 ISF
1 IED

Province
Jul 15-21
Jul 22-28
Anbar
23 Incidents
62 Killed: 6 Sahwa, 10 Hashd, 20 Civilians, 26 ISF
89 Wounded: 3 Sahwa, 13 ISF, 19 Hashd, 54 Civilians
12 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
2 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
37 Incidents
311 Killed: 46 Civilians, 103 Hashd, 162 ISF
173 Wounded: 32 Civilians, 55 ISF, 86 Hashd
21 Shootings
12 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Car Bombs
2 Mortars
8 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
18 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
4 Incidents
8 Killed: 1 ISF, 7 Civilians
11 Wounded: 1 ISF, 10 Civilians
2 Shootings
1 IED
1 Grenade
3 Incidents
4 Killed: 1 ISF, 3 Civilians
12 Wounded: 4 ISF, 8 Civilians
1 Shooting
2 IEDs
Baghdad
39 Incidents
80 Killed: 3 Sahwa, 4 ISF, 73 Civilians
209 Wounded: 3 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 7 ISF, 195 Civilians
8 Shootings
22 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
2 Suicide Bombers
2 Car Bombs
52 Incidents
84 Killed: 1 Hashd, 2 ISF, 4 Sahwa, 77 Civilians
218 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 4 Sahwa, 5 ISF, 208 Civilians
10 Shootings
29 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
3 Car Bombs
Basra
2 Incidents
1 Shooting
1 IED
2 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
Diyala
10 Incidents
165 Killed: 3 Hashd, 162 Civilians
218 Wounded: 218 Civilians
1 Shooting
2 IEDs
3 Car Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Rocket
14 Incidents
18 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 2 ISF, 7 Hashd, 8 Civilians
23 Wounded: 1 Peshmerga, 22 Civilians
5 Shootings
7 IEDs
2 Mortars
Dohuk
-
4 Incidents
12 Killed: 12 PKK
16 Wounded: 3 Civilians, 13 PKK
2 Turkish Air Strikes
2 Turkish Shelling
Kirkuk
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
4 Incidents
8 Killed: 8 Civilians
1 Shooting
Ninewa
12 Incidents
9 Killed: 1 Peshmerga, 8 Civilians
8 Wounded: 8 Peshmerga
8 Shootings
1 Mortar
1 Stabbing
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
10 Incidents
20 Killed: 20 Civilians
25 Wounded: 25 Civilians
3 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Rocket
Salahaddin
18 Incidents
34 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 5 Civilians, 13 ISF, 15 Hashd
62 Wounded: 7 Sahwa, 10 Civilians, 20 Hashd, 25 ISF
6 Shootings
6 IEDs
2 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
3 Suicide Bombers Killed
18 Incidents
68 Killed: 3 ISF, 31 Civilians, 34 Hashd
120 Wounded: 14 ISF, 43 Hashd, 63 Civilians
6 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomb
3 Car Bombs
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
Sulaymaniya
-
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
3 Wounded: 3 Civilians
1 Mortar

Car Bombs In Iraq, July 2015
Date
Location
Dead
Wounded
Jul 1
Riyahah, Salahaddin

1
Jul 2
Nukhaib, Anbar
Fatah & Tal Abu, Salahaddin
Baiji-Tikrit Road, Salahaddin– 2 destroyed
9
12
Jul 3



Jul 4
Baya x2, Baghdad
Baiji x2, Salahaddin
Khursabad & Nouran, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
20
22
Jul 5
Amil & Dora, Baghdad
Baladrooz, Diyala
Hadith Dam, Anbar – 7 destroyed
16
55
Jul 6
Jubba, Anbar
New Baghdad, Baghdad
Haditha, Outside Haditha & Saqlawiya, Anbar - 12 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
11
11
Jul 7
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Sinjar, Ninewa – 3 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
10
35
Totals
16 & 32 Destroyed
66
136
Jul 8
Sakran, Anbar
Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
1
1
Jul 9
Alwa, Baghdad
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Tal Abu Jarad, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed

1
Jul 10
Khalidiya x7, Anbar
Amil & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
23
48
Jul 11
Abu Fleis x3, Anbar
Husaiba & Saqlawiya, Anbar – 11 destroyed
Bjara, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed
8
5
Jul 12
Bunuk, Iskan, Kadhimiya, &Shaab, Baghdad
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
Sadr City, Baghdad – 1 destroyed
Albu Juari & Hawi, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed
43
103
Jul 13
Fallujah x5, Anbar


Jul 14
Nukhaib, Anbar
Khalis, Diyala
East of Husaiba, Saqlawiya, Shehan, Anbar – 13 destroyed
8
16
Totals
26 & 36 Destroyed
83
174
Jul 15
Baiji, Salahaddin
1
10
Jul 16
Nukhaib, Anbar


Jul 17
Khan Bani Saad, Diyala
East of Ramadi, Anbar – 3 destroyed
130
155
Jul 18
Khalidiya, Anbar
2
3
Jul 19
Hardan, Ninewa – 5 destroyed


Jul 20
Khalis, Diyala
4
18
Jul 21
New Baghdad & Zafaraniya, Baghdad
Mandali, Diyala
Tarmiya, Salahaddin
North of Fallujah, Anbar – 2 destroyed
39
83
Totals
9 & 10 Destroyed
176
259
Jul 22
Fallujah, Anbar
Baya & Shaab, Baghdad
Fallujah, Anbar – 3 destroyed
East of Tikrit, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed
50
58
Jul 23
East & North of Fallujah, Anbar
81

Jul 24
Fallujah x2, Anbar
Husaiba, Anbar – 1 destroyed
21
24
Jul 25
Albu Bali, Anbar – 1 destroyed


Jul 26
Anbar University, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Jul 27
Bob al-Sham, Baghdad
Sijer, Anbar – 3 destroyed

4
Jul 28
Baiji x3, Salahaddin
Anbar University & East Husaiba, Anbar – 4 destroyed
28
44
Totals
11 & 18 Destroyed
180
130

The Islamic State’s latest car bomb campaign continued into the third week of July. There has been at least one car bomb per day from July 4 to 28. During the week there were 11 successful Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VIBEDs) hitting their targets and another 18 destroyed. Anbar had 5 car bomb explosions and another 15 destroyed. These were used by IS to counter the government’s on going offensive there. Salahaddin had 3 car bombs go off and another 3 destroyed. The three successful ones were in Baiji against the government’s forces that were trying to retake the town. Finally there were 3 car bombs in Baghdad, as that has become a major target again. IS has been dividing its VBIEDs between hitting the joint forces and civilians during its current campaign.

The attempt to re-take Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar reached its second week. The government’s forces were not only focusing upon the suburbs of those two cities, but were attempting to clear the towns in between and surrounding them as well. One of the major achievements of the week was clearing the Anbar University on the outskirts of Ramadi on July 26, which IS was supposedly using as a base.

At other times government propaganda made it unclear what was going on in Anbar. For instance, East Husaiba was declared cleared on July 21, then again on July 23, and then a sweep was made through the town on July 26. Similarly central Husaiba was said to be freed on July 13, but then the government forces said they had just reached the town on July 18, before it was called liberated again on July 27. The residential neighborhood of Saqlawiya was swept through on July 15, and then the whole town was reported freed on July 19 only to have fighting break out there again on July 21, the residential area cleared again on July 23, and then the town attacked again by the government forces on July 25. The outskirts of Ramadi also appeared to be contested. On July 23 joint forces stated they had entered the Qadisiyah district, then freed it by July 27 only to be fighting there again the next day. Finally, on July 13 Tash 2 was supposed to have been free of IS elements. Then both Tash 1 and Tash 2 were said to be cleared on July 19. The joint forces were back there on July 19 before both 1 and 2 were called liberated again on July 28. What do these examples mean? In some cases like East and central Husaiba and Tash 1 and Tash 2 the joint forces were exaggerating their advances by saying they had freed the town as soon as they got there. In other cases like Saqlawiya and Qadisiyah it looked like the Islamic State re-infiltrated and Baghdad’s troops had to go back in to expel them. This has been a common practice throughout much of the major fighting in the country and can be expected to continue. Baghdad is in full propaganda mode and wants to report as many victories as possible even before they actually happen.

An exception to that rule can be seen in the on going operation in Garma. That began in the middle of May. A month later the town was said to be surrounded, and then the effort stalled as weeks were spent trying to get into the center. By the end of July IS still holds the middle of Garma with a very small force.

Another effect of the Fallujah and Ramadi operation is that reports on casualties in the province have been very inconsistent. For example, Fallujah is shelled every day by the government forces and that used to get covered before, but now that’s happening less and less. During the week there was only one report on the artillery fire on the city. On the other hand, there were three stories on a fraction of the losses the joint forces were suffering. All together Al Jazeera, Rudaw and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported 256 dead and 128 wounded by car bombs and fighting with the Islamic State just in the Fallujah area. The government does not officially release the vast majority of its casualties during big offensives. Those news pieces however gave a glimpse of what the ISF, Hashd and tribes were going through to take the area.

Baghdad remained a major target of the Islamic State. There were 52 incidents there including three car bombs, but the weapon of choice of IS was the IED with 29. By region, south Baghdad had 23 attacks followed by 14 in the east. The previous week the latter had the most incidents. Recently Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban said that 164,000 of his forces were deployed in the capital for security. A large number of soldiers are there as well under orders of Prime Minister Haider Abadi who has made Baghdad a focus of his defense plans. That has not stopped IS from being able to hit all parts of the province with increasing ferocity over the last several months.

Attacks In Baghdad July 22-28
Center – 4: 2 Kidnappings, 3 IEDs
East – 11: 1 Suicide Bomber, 1 Robbery, 3 Shootings, 3 IEDs, 3 Sticky Bombs
North – 6: 2 Car Bombs, 2 IEDs, 2 Sticky Bombs
Outer East – 3: 3 IEDs
Outer North – 1: 1 IED
Outer South – 6: 1 Sticky Bomb, 5 IEDs
Outer West – 2: 2 IEDs
South – 17: 1 Car Bomb, 1 Kidnapping, 6 Shootings, 9 IEDs
West – 3: 1 Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 IED

The operation in Baiji in Salahaddin continues as well. Here too government statements suffered from exaggeration. On July 23, a Hashd spokesman told the press that 80% of the Baiji Refinery had been taken. Two days later Asaib Ahl Al-Haq said that only 40% of the facility was under control. IS pulled out most of its fighters from the area as soon as Ramadi was taken in May and only left a holding unit there, but it still has been able to hold off a much larger attacking force.

Finally, Turkey has begun air strikes and shelling of northern Dohuk province to hit PKK bases. There were four reported incidents during the week that killed 12 PKK fighters, wounded another 13 along with three civilians. There were other civilian casualties mentioned but no numbers were given. Turkey has been concerned about the PKK and its Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) progress in Syria and Iraq. Ankara fears that the group will create an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria and gain greater influence in Iraq. The Turkish government therefore said that its new anti-terrorism policy would strike the Islamic State, but more importantly the PKK. Bombing and artillery fire in Dohuk will likely continue for the next few weeks on an almost daily basis as a result.

SOURCES

AIN, "Federal Police announce the death of 26 Daash and advances into areas of eastern Husaybah," 7/21/15
- "Four people were injured by a car bomb north of Baghdad," 7/27/15

Al Forat, "Saraya al-Jihad kills 4 ISIL suicide bombers, destroys 3 vehicles bombs northern Fallujah," 7/28/15

Al Jazeera, "Iraq forces suffer casualties as they advance in Anbar," 7/24/15

NINA, "8 Terrorists Killed, 3 Car Bombs Detonated East Of Tikrit," 7/22/15
- "A number of terrorists killed in Anbar," 7/23/15
- "Toll of victims of Alshuhada explosion up to 16 martyrs and 40 wounded," 7/22/15

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "Car Bombs Kill At Least 26 In Baghdad," 7/22/15
- "Iraqi Forces Retake University From IS In Anbar," 7/2/15,
- "Suicide Car Bombers Kill 21 Iraqi Troops, Allied Militia North Of Fallujah," 7/25/15

Radio Free Iraq, "22 July 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/22/15
- "27 July 2015," Daily Updates from Anbar, 7/27/15

Shafaq News, "62 people killed and injured in bombings in Baiji and Samarra," 7/28/15
- "About 50 people were killed and injured in bombing of fourth police district in Baghdad," 7/22/15
- “Ghabban: 164 000 elements of the Ministry of Interior keep security in Baghdad,” 7/26/15
- "More than 30 casualties of the Iraqi forces in three bombings in Baiji," 7/28/15

Sotaliraq, "Security forces repel Daash attack and destroy "armored bomb" in Ramadi," 7/25/15

Telesurtv, "Iraq: 22 Killed in Islamic State Group Suicide Blast," 7/22/15

Xinhua, "Iraqi security forces repel IS attack with 6 suicide car bombs," 7/28/15

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