Hawija – Five infants died of various health complications as Islamic State militants continue to deny food and medicine to families opposing its rule in southwest Kirkuk.
Jabbar al-Maamouri, a senior leader at the Popular Mobilization Forces, said the infants died in the Islamic State stronghold of Hawija over the last week. He told Alsumaria News that a fatwa ( an Islamic religious edict) issued by the group prohibited food and medicine supply to families which oppose the group or had one of their members executed by it.
On Monday, Alsumaria News quoted a source saying that IS seized the homes of 60 families in Hawija and forced them to move to farmlands on the town’s outskirts. The source said the militants accused the families of “disloyalty” to the group. He explained that most of the families expelled had some members executed by the Islamic State for various reasons.
“Daesh (Islamic State) is seeking to empty Hawija of families who it suspects of opposing it,” said the source.
Hawija and other neighboring areas in southwest Kirkuk have been under Islamic State control since 2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.
Local tribal leaders and politicians from Kirkuk have recently mounted pressure on the Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, suggesting that its people were experiencing a humanitarian crisis under the group’s rule. The Iraqi government is currently employing the largest portion of its military effort in Mosul, IS’s capital in Iraq where Iraqi commanders said recently they became in control over nearly 90 percent of territory since operations launched to retake the city in October.