Hawija Citizens in Kirkuk Governorate Face ‘Humanitarian Crisis’

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights (IOHR) said that residents in Hawija, west Kirkuk Governorate, and other villages in the governorate that are still under ISIS control, have been facing a humanitarian crisis amidst complete silence from the Iraqi Government.

The Observatory has documented through the past 10 days the execution of at least 10 people from Hawija by ISIS for different accusations, including “communicating with security forces.”

The IOHR said in its regular report that more than 150,000 civilians are living under ISIS control in the town.

Sources from Kirkuk Governorate earlier told Asharq Al-Awsat that a meeting among security leaderships was convened last week to draw a plan to liberate Hawija.

IOHR said that they met several displaced Iraqis, who talked about their sufferings before fleeing areas controlled by ISIS.

“I was able to flee Hawija with my family two days ago. The situation in the town is very bad as ISIS is committing hideous crimes there almost every day and is executing citizens,” Om Fatima told the Iraqi Observatory.

“This week seven people were executed. ISIS also punishes families who try to flee by executing men or breaking their legs and flogging women,” Om Fatima added.

She also talked about the imposed siege on Hawija since July 2016 and said that citizens suffer a lack of food availability as they drink cow milk and eat wheat in order to satisfy their hunger.

Another displaced, who preferred to stay anonymous to protect his family that is still in Hawija, told the Observatory that ISIS crimes are ongoing, and “the latest was breaking the legs of nine citizens in three different areas of the village and executing six others.”

“What is happening in Hawija is a frightening humanitarian crisis due to the siege imposed by the government for nearly one year now,” Abu Adnan told the Iraqi Observatory.

He added: “The government did not liberate the town and is not allowing in food and medicine.”

“ISIS is carrying out ongoing executions, and this is expected, yet what is the government’s excuses for preventing food and medical aid delivery to a group of innocent people.”

Image: Reuters/Suhaib Salem

Article: Asharq al-Awsat