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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

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Scores of Iraqis Still Killed in Attacks and US Air Strikes, Many Still Refugees Inside their Country

March 12, 2019

Editor's Note:

The following are just examples of news stories about the continuous Iraq war. Daily news stories can be accessed from the news sources listed below and others in the internet. Most likely, the available news stories are biased, as these do not include the two sides.

 

Iraqis are still refugees in their country, this one is in Dyala, March 9, 2019 Islamic State members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir al-Zor province, Syria, March 10, 2019

 

The following are news stories from the independent Iraqi Arabic news agency, Yaqein ( http://yaqein.net/ ):

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There are more than one thousand Iraqi families in Wand refugee camps, in Diyala Province, in Iraq, who cannot go back to their villages, which were destroyed during the Iraqi government war on the northern provinces. The war left these areas without services or infrastructure. 

9 2019  

픡 ʡ . ɔ.

ɔ Ԕ.

https://yaqein.net/politics/182049

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Islamic State militants attack Iraqi Shiite militia, kill 6

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA Associated Press

March 07, 2019 09:08 AM,

Islamic State militants ambushed a bus carrying Shiite Muslim paramilitary fighters in northern Iraq, killing six militiamen and wounding 31 others in one of the deadliest attacks in recent months, Iraqi officials said Thursday.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi opened an investigation into the attack, which took place late Wednesday near the town of Makhmour, south of the northern city of Mosul.

An official from the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces said the bus was en route from Mosul to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to reporters. He blamed the attack on the Islamic State group, which was vanquished in Iraq in late 2017 but has recently stepped up activities.

The wounded were transported to the nearest health-care facility in the nearby town of Qayyarah, in Nineveh Province.

IS, which seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in territories it controls in Syria and Iraq, was formally declared defeated in Iraq following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and Iraqi cities in ruins.

The group's sleeper cells are still carrying out deadly attacks in northern and western Iraq and have in the past few months staged kidnappings, killings and ambush operations, particularly against Iraqi forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces, the predominantly Shiite and Iran-backed umbrella group that fought IS alongside the Iraqi military.

https://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/nation-world/article227230064.html

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The following are news stories from a pro-Iraqi government website (http://www.iraqinews.com/), which usually reports those who are killed by Iraqi government attacks as Islamic State fighters, implying no civilians were killed by bombing residential neighborhoods:

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International coalition kills eight Islamic State militants in Anbar province

by Mohammed Ebraheem Mar 4, 2019, 11:13 pm

Anbar (IraqiNews.com)

Eight Islamic State militants were killed Monday in an airstrike that was launched by the U.S.-led international coalition on a desert area in the Iraqi province of Anbar.

Acting on accurate intelligence reports, the Joint Operations Command, backed by warplanes of the U.S.-led international coalition, targeted a gathering of Islamic State militants in the desert of Kabisa in the Hīt district of Anbar, Al-Madar News quoted the Security Media Center as saying in a statement.

The airstrike left eight IS militants dead, the statement read, adding that an armored vehicle for the militant group was also destroyed in the operation.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic States territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbars western borders with Syria, which was the groups last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled caliphate in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the groups previously proclaimed capital.

3 Islamic State terrorists killed while trying to infiltrate into Iraq

by Mohammed Ebraheem Mar 3, 2019, 7:40 pm

Anbar (IraqiNews.com)

Three Islamic State terrorists were killed Sunday while trying to infiltrate from Syria into the western Iraqi province of Anbar, a security source was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Almaalomah news website, the source said that security forces managed to kill the trio before sneaking from the Syrian city of Al-Baghuz into Anbar province.

The arrest was made based on accurate intelligence reports, added the source.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic States territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbars western borders with Syria, which was the groups last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled caliphate in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the groups previously proclaimed capital.

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US-Backed Forces in Final Assault to Wipe Out IS Enclave

March 11, 2019 10:32 AM

Jeff Seldon, VOA, WASHINGTON  

Clashes and fierce fighting continued in northeastern Syria Monday, where U.S.-backed forces say their final assault on the Islamic State terror group enclave of Baghuz is underway.

A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mustafa Bali, said IS militants are fighting back with suicide bombers and damaged an SDF minesweeper. Writing on Twitter, he said the fighting has killed one SDF member and wounded four others. He added that U.S-led coalition airstrikes are destroying IS storage facilities and vehicles.

On, Sunday he announced the offensive to wipe out the last remnant of the terror groups self-declared caliphate resumed at 6 p.m. local time.

Officials with both the SDF and the United States are expecting a difficult battle over the collection of tents and wrecked buildings spanning no more than 1.6 square kilometers on the outskirts of the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz.

They say IS has been using a network of tunnels, caves and trenches to hide and launch counter attacks. They describe the tunnel system as complex, extending possibly for more than two kilometers, and rigged with explosives and booby traps.

There are also questions about how many IS fighters are left to defend the last shred of the terror groups self-declared caliphate.

In late February, SDF officials estimated that no more than 1,000 people remained the bombed-out farming community on the banks of the Euphrates River, including perhaps 300 of the terror groups most hardened and devoted fighters.

But as more than 20,000 civilians and fighters have emerged from the area to surrender over the past week, taking advantage of a brief cease-fire, they have been forced to reassess their estimates. Officials now say it is possible thousands of IS fighters are still there, prepared to fight to the death.

We have been consistently wrong as have our SDF [Syrian Democratic Force] partners on how big this is, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday.

The number of civilians coming out of Baghuz has exceeded any prediction of humanitarian actors, Hedinn Halldorsson, with the U.N.s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Damascus, told VOA late last week.

Yet as surprising as the numbers have been, U.S. defense officials do not believe it is an accident or a happenstance of the campaign to liberate this part of Syria from IS rule.

What we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organization but a calculated decision, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel, told U.S. lawmakers Thursday.

He, and other officials, warn IS goal is to preserve as much of the groups capabilities as possible as it completes a transition from an almost traditional army to a clandestine insurgency, counting on every man, woman and child to do their part.

"The vast majority of these are assessed not to be innocent civilians," the senior defense official said of the thousands of stragglers who evacuated Baghuz in recent days.

The prolonged battle to wrest Baghuz from the control of IS has played out as U.S. President Donald trump has repeatedly declared victory over IS and its caliphate.

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency," he tweeted Dec. 19, 2018, adding in a video released by the White House that "we have beaten them and we have beaten them badly."

Most recently, on February 28, he told troops at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska of the self-declared caliphates demise, "You kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it's 100 percent.

"We have the whole thing," he added.

Trumps national security adviser defended the presidents comments Sunday.

The president has been, I think, as clear as clear can be when he talks about the defeat of the ISIS territorial caliphate," Bolton said told ABC News This Week. "He has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total. We know that's not the case.

We know right now that there are ISIS fighters scattered still around Syria and Iraq and that ISIS itself is growing in other parts of the world, Bolton added. The ISIS threat will remain"

Despite losing administrative control over almost all the land it once held in Syria and Iraq, U.S. defense officials warns IS still has tens of thousands of fighters working either as part of sleeper cells or as part of an active, clandestine insurgency.

A series of reports issued starting last year warned IS could have as many as 30,000 followers and fighters in Syria and Iraq, with officials cautioning they remain well-positioned to rebuild a physical caliphate.

Jeff works out of VOAs Washington headquarters and is national security correspondent. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

https://www.voanews.com/a/us-backed-forces-launch-final-assault-to-wipe-out-islamic-state-enclave/4822279.html

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