Iraqis trapped and starving in city held by ISIS

2016-02-04 21:30
A man inspects a bomb-damaged house in Fallujah. (AP)

A man inspects a bomb-damaged house in Fallujah. (AP)

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Fallujah - About 10 000 Iraqis are currently trapped without enough food or medical supplies inside the Islamic State-controlled city of Fallujah, where dozens are dying each week of starvation and failing health.

Six children, a man and a woman died on Wednesday because of the lack of food and medicines in the western city in Anbar province, Jamal al-Falluji, a doctor at Fallujah hospital, told dpa.

Ten civilians died earlier this week in the absence of proper healthcare in the city that lies 50km west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi security forces have been imposing a blockade on the roads leading to Fallujah, which is located between Ramadi and Baghdad, since October last year in an attempt to stop the flow of Islamic State militants and military hardware into Fallujah.

At the same time, people find it almost impossible to leave Fallujah.

In January 2014, ISIS fighters infiltrated Fallujah and Ramadi after months of anti-government protests in the mainly Sunni Anbar province.

In December, the Iraqi government announced the "liberation" of Ramadi from Islamic State, marking the first major setback for the radical Sunni group since April.

Fallujah's population is estimated at about 750 000. Most of the those trapped are located in the central and western parts of the city.

Khalid al-Hamed, 40, told dpa that he and his family have not eaten bread in almost three months.

"Grass eaten by animals has become our [only food] ... and children are the most affected," he said.


Another Fallujah resident, Abu Saad, 36, told dpa: "Daesh [Islamic State] has turned us into hostages, totally preventing anybody from getting out of Fallujah ... Those who tried, were killed."

Politicians have frequently called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to lift the siege on Fallujah and put an end to the ordeal that locals here face.

"The blockade ... causes mass deaths every day ... the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition must find quick means to save people from dying," local parliamentarian Leqaa Wardy said.

"The army can airdrop food supplies or open safe passages for people to get out of the city," Wardy added.

The head of Anbar's Provincial Council, Sabah Karhout, said that the Iraqi government, the United Nations and the US-led coalition have not responded to requests for allocating safe passage in order to evacuate families from Fallujah.

"The remaining civilians in Fallujah belong to low-income brackets and have no capability to leave the city and live elsewhere. So they have to stay and become victims of Daesh and the tragic humanitarian situation," Karhout said.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq

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