Over 1,500 villagers were asked by the security forces to leave their villages in Beji district of Salahaddin province due to the “security vacuum” in the region.
The villagers told KirkukNow commander of Salahaddin Joint Operations Command last week have informed residents of five villages in Makhool sub-district “their live is at risk due to the security vacuum” in the region and advised them to leave temporarily.
337 families have evacuated five villages to center of Makhool sub-district, adjacent to Hawija district from the east and Anbar province from the west.
“Security forces asked us to leave because we were under threat. Now we have left our homes and displaced. We are in harsh living conditions and need aids. Little kids and pregnant suffer so we call on the government and organizations to deliver aids immediately,” said Fatima Ali, a resident of Umm Dhiyab village.
The Iraqi Red Crescent has delivered basic needs to the families yet still the families are worried how long they have to live in tents away from their homes.
Those five villages, mainly Sunni Arabs, are displaced for the second time after they were forced to escape Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS atrocities in 2014 up to end of 2017 when Iraqi forces regained control of Tikrit, center of Salahaddin province.
The villages located northwest of Tikrit are a bit far from the last security checkpoints by Salahaddin security forces which is a vast wide area.
End of October, four laborers were killed and two others were injured in the village of al-Hawaij in Abbasi sub-district, part of Hawija district west of Kirkuk, while they were heading to collect wood and burn it into coals.
IS militants are regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. They are targeting Iraqi forces and civilians in the suburbs of Diyla, Kirkuk Ninawa, Salahaddin and Erbil.
Back in 2014, ISIS took over almost one third of Iraqi territories. End of 2017, the Iraqi government declared victory and defeat of IS yet a report by the United Nations UN published early this year estimated thousands of Daesh fighters remain active across Iraq and Syria.
“We are busy with agriculture and breeding cattle yet had to leave our villages based on requests by the security forces. We have got tents but no idea what we are heading to,” said Ali Mujbil, one of Makhool IDPs.
Riydh Maliki, media officer of Salahaddin Joint Operations’ Command, denied to comment on the issue.
Rasoul Jasim, mayor of Makhool, confirmed the villages were evacuated based on request of Salhaddin command. “There is vacuum security in the area and they are under threat of Daesh terrorists.”
There is vacuum security in the area and they are under threat of Daesh terrorists
The latest figures by Tikrit branch of Iraqi Red Crescent, up to 1,500 people making 337 families were displaced till February 13.
Haider Qasim, director of Tikrit branch of Iraqi Red Crescent, said four days ago they have provided tents to the displaced families.
“In the first two days, there was water shortage yet we managed to provide water, food, mattresses and blankets. We have been told they will be here temporarily but no idea how long,” Qasim said.
Mayor of Makhool said the villagers have to stay in tents at least up to four months “till a tight security plan is in place.”
The predominantly Sunni province of Salahaddin, about 135 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, once home for Saddam Hussein, is under the control of Iraq's Shia-led paramilitary forces known as al-Hashid al-Shabi, the Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.