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Iraq: Gov't siege of Fallujah starving local population

Fallujah has been under IS control since January 2014 [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 December, 2015

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Locals in the IS-controlled Iraqi city of Fallujah could soon starve to death if government forces continue a siege of the city, leaders in the city have said.

Residents of the Islamic state group controlled city of Fallujah, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, are facing starvation as they find themselves trapped inside the city with their supply lines cut, al-Araby al-Jadeed's Iraq correspondent Ahmad al-Nuaimi has reported.

Around 100,000 civilians still living in the Sunni-majority city, which lies about half way between Ramadi and Baghdad, have been dealing with two months of severe shortages of basic commodities such as food, medical supplies and fuel, local leaders have said.

     
      Fallujah is surrounded by government forces [Getty]

The Iraqi military backed by popular mobilisation militias have circled the city blocking vital roads, while IS has prevented locals from seeking refuge outside the city.

"The residents of Fallujah are living in extremely tragic and tough conditions because of the shortages of essential goods. It has become very difficult to bring these goods into the city," Anbar provincial council leader, Sabah al-Karhout, said, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service.

See Also: No more bombs say Raqqa's people

"Security forces have surrounded the city and are preventing these goods from entering, at the same time IS is not letting people leave the city," Karhout added.

IS has recently executed civilians fleeing war-torn areas in Anbar province to deter others from leaving as they continue to use civilians as human shields to protect themselves.

Karhout called on the Iraqi military to open secure corridors for trapped locals to escape the city and for a refugee camp to be set up nearby to accommodate fleeing families.

"People in Fallujah are up against the possibly of starvation and the constant air raids and shelling, which have been going on for almost two years and have killed thousands of women and children," said Fallujah resident Sheikh Mohammad al-Quraishi. 

Fallujah has firmly been in the hands of IS since the Iraqi government lost control of the city in January 2014. It has been heavily shelled by government forces and bombarded by US-led coalition war planes.

This week, the Iraqi military mobilised reinforcements towards the neighbouring city of Ramadi, as the US-led coalition stepped up its air raids on IS positions and tribal forces in and around the city.

All the indications suggest that the countdown to a large-scale offensive to recapture Ramadi the capital of Anbar province from IS control, has begun.

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