Islamic State militants executed 34 civilians for collaborating with security forces and attempting to flee regions under the group’s control, local sources in Kirkuk said Sunday.
Anwar al-Assi, chief of al-Obeid tribe, told Alsumaria News that IS executed 30 people, mostly women and children, in Hawija,the group’s major stronghold in the southwest, for attempting to flee the town. He said the victims were executed by a shooting squad after they had been caught on their way to al-Alam region in Salahuddin province.
According to Assi, nearly 1000 men have been executed in Hawija and other areas west of Kirkuk since June 2014. Three thousands others remain either missing or detained by the militants. He said 650 were also killed by IS snipers or booby-traps fleeing through Hamreen mountains, west of Hawija, or to central Kirkuk to the east.
The four people were also executed Sunday in the village of Um al-Oyoun near Hawija, according to another source who did not mention the method of the execution.
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.
Three weeks ago, Alsumaria News quoted sources saying that IS had opened alternative headquarters for its so-called “Nineveh State, “Dijlah State”, “Salahuddin State” and “Diyala State” in Hawija. He said senior leaders had entered the town in armored vehicles after having fled battles with security forces in Nineveh.