Iraq

Iraq resumes Mosul operation after a two-week lull

Iraqi troops backed by US-led air strikes have pushed deeper into eastern Mosul after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. Staff Lieutenant-General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior officer in Iraq’s counterterrorism service, said the second phase of the  operation, now in ...

Christmas reborn in Iraqi town freed from ISIS

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG In the ancient Iraqi Christian town of Bartella — recently liberated from ISIS — Christmas was celebrated for the first time in more than two years on Saturday. It was an emotional return for members of Bartella’s displaced Christian community, who had been forced to flee when their hometown was overrun by the Islamist terror group. ...

The Islamic State has been pushed back but the future still looks bleak for Christians in the Middle East

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG On the last Sunday of October the church bells in the Iraqi Christian town of Qaraqosh rang out for the first time in two years. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) had been been driven out, leaving behind only the dead bodies of their fighters and the churches that lay desecrated but not ...

Iraq’s Muslims celebrate Christmas in solidarity with Christians

BAGHDAD — With every year, Christmas in Baghdad is marked with more festivities than the year before. Is this merely a celebration of joy or a deep expression of solidarity with the threatened Christian minorit Commercial streets such Karada, al-Mansour, Palestine and Zaytouna are adorned with Christmas trees and Santa Claus. Zawraa park in the center of the capital is hosting ...

On the front lines of Canadian assistance in Iraq

The town lies 65 kilometres south of the city where an Iraqi-led operation to root out the Islamic State has now, as of late December, entered its tenth week. An Iraqi commander instructs the convoy to hurry as it snakes its way through narrow streets, and, pointing toward buildings a few kilometres away, warns that snipers might still be lying ...

Islamic State fighters ‘re-enter ancient Palmyra’ in Syria

REPORTED BY KALAHAN DENG Islamic State group fighters have re-entered Palmyra, nine months after losing the ancient Syrian desert city, activists say. IS held Palmyra and its nearby ruins for 10 months before it was recaptured by Syrian government forces in March. But the jihadist group launched an offensive earlier this week. Meanwhile, Russian-backed Syrian government forces are closing in ...

U.S.: ISIS fighters killed in Iraq, Syria reaches 50,000

The official said it was a conservative estimate, but it’s a bit more than what others have stated before. U.S. leaders have expressed reluctance to disclose specific numbers, and note that ISIS has been able to replace fighters rapidly, particularly early on. In August, Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland said about 45,000 combatants have been taken off the battlefields. The official ...

Don’t Shrink Iraq to Save It

The Islamic State is likely to be forced out of Mosul and Raqqa. Yet many of the conditions that led to its emergence in the first place still remain. Military force is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for defeating ISIS. However, the proposal that we partition Iraq along sectarian lines will not solve the problem. It is a dangerous ...

United Nations to stop reporting military casualties in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Dec. 4 (UPI) — The United Nations mission in Iraq said it will stop reporting military casualty figures after Iraq’s military complained the numbers were exaggerated. In a press release published Sunday, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, or UNAMI, said it “acknowledges that the military figures were largely unverified.” The agency said it will discontinue the reporting ...

In Iraq, family honors a son’s fight for national unity against ISIS

AL-DIWANIYAH, IRAQ — The last moments of the Iraqi special forces officer came in the nondescript outskirts of Mosul, amid tight house-to-house combat against jihadists of the so-called Islamic State. In one scene, a BBC Arabic television crew captures the hulking sergeant-major of Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Force (ICTF) kicking through the door of a house. In the next, the officer steps ...

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