UN: 90 civilians killed in Iraq in August

Disputed territories like Kirkuk have witnessed an increase in instability after Iraqi troops took over the area from Peshmerga forces last October.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – According to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), acts of terrorism, violence, and armed conflict in the country in August killed 90 Iraqi civilians and injured another 117.  

“The figures include ordinary citizens, and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police in non-combat functions, civil [defense], personal security teams, facilities protection police, and fire department personnel,” UNAMI said.

Most of the violence was in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Nineveh, and Anbar.

“Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 77 civilian casualties (24 killed, 53 injured), followed by [Nineveh] (29 killed and 10 injured), and Anbar (six killed and 26 injured),” UNAMI stated.

However, UNAMI also said it could not verify incidents in all territories: “Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and might not fully reflect the number of casualties due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground in Anbar and the disruption of services.”

“For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum,” the report noted.

Baghdad was also the most affected Governorate in July, with UN statistics showing 79 civilians killed, and 99 wounded.

Iraq analyst Joel Wing, author of the Musings on Iraq blog, warned that the figures might be unrealistic due to Baghdad’s pressure on the UN.

There are “no figures for Diyala and Salahuddin in that report. The UN figures are already really low because they cut their reporting due to” criticism from the Iraqi government, he said in August.

“Not including those two makes this month’s figures meaningless,” Wing added.

“Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin are the three main areas [the Islamic State (IS)] operates and is rebuilding, and where the majority of violence takes place.”

In a recent report assessing coalition operations for the US Congress, Glenn A. Fine, Leader Inspector General of the US Department of Defense (DoD), said violence on the rise in Iraq’s northern provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin signaled IS’ “resilience.”

Disputed territories like Kirkuk have witnessed an increase in instability after Iraqi forces took over the area from Peshmerga in a military operation last October.

Since then, IS has benefited from the security vacuum. According to the DoD report, the militant group was able to exploit “the seam between, at times competing, security forces.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany