After last week’s attack on Samarra, the terrorist group The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has taken control Mosul as Shia Rights Watch previously reported. Mosul and its surrounding villages are home to more than half a million Shia Muslims. The attack on Mosul resulted in ISIS taking over important government buildings and freeing over 2500 prisoners.
Just hours after the attacks began, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a “maximum alert,” putting weapons into the hands of all the city’s men, and urged parliament to announce a countrywide “state of emergency.”
According to government sources, who did not want to be named, tens of thousands of Shia families were threatened to be slaughtered. The city’s Shia community of over 100 thousand out (of the half million Shia living in Mosul and environs) have tried to flee to Turkey along with everyone else, but are being denied entrance and must find refuge elsewhere.
According to some sources the Iraqi army fled the city of Mosul today as it was taken by ISIS, leaving behind weapons and equipment that had been sent by the US.
As the conflict elevated in Mosul, another attack occurred on Samarra which is still recovering from last week’s terrifying attack. Many Shia pilgrims are trapped inside the Shrinewith no access to food and water in Iraq’s triple digit desert heat.
The militants have taken over the local TV stations, the governor’s offices, banks, police stations, military bases, prisons, etc., and are waving black banners all across the city, a flag representing ISIS.
ISIS is now armed with the most advanced weapon available to the Iraqi army and are threatening the vulnerable Shia community. The conflict, that is was not a shock to government, is creating anxiety and extreme fear among residents and pilgrims who visit Iraq during the month of Sha’aban. Sha’ban is the month during which Shia pilgrims from around the world visit the city of Samarra, Iraq for religious celebration. Some sources reveal the Iraqi government was aware of the possible attacks by ISIS but underestimated the gravity of the threat.
SRW is concerned for the security of Shia Muslim residents and pilgrims in Iraq and condemns the lack of appropriate action and intervention by Iraqi government. SRW also holds Turkish authorities responsible for the harm and danger that these groups face due to their denial of entrance as refugees.
Finally, SRW calls all the humanitarian organizations and human rights organizations and the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq to lend a helping hand to those families most in danger and muster a protective force in order to preserve the lives of innocent civilians.