Unacceptable loss of civilian lives in Iraq, paper

ABU DHABI, 4th April, 2016 (WAM) — It is shocking to note that violence claimed at least 1,119 Iraqi lives in the month of March alone, besides leaving 1,561 injured, as the dreaded Daesh group managed to step up attacks on civilians despite suffering major battlefield setbacks, commented a UAE daily.

According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, among the casualties were civilians in personal security details, facilities protection police and the fire department, in addition to 45 federal police officers killed and 50 others injured.

In an editorial today, The Gulf Today said, “What is also appalling is that the overall casualty figures saw an increase from February, where a total of 670 were killed and 1,290 were injured.”

UN officials have clarified that they cannot verify reports of large numbers of casualties from secondary effects of violence, including those who died after fleeing their homes from exposure to the elements or lack of food, water or health care.

While Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition have advanced against Daesh on a number of fronts in recent months, thousands of trapped Iraqi civilians have stalled the government’s advance in the battle against Daesh in the western Anbar province.

The civilians are trapped between the Iraqi forces’ lines and the Daesh extremists hunkered down in the centre of the town of Hit, 140 kilometres west of Baghdad.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had stated last week that national reconciliation is an important part of the strategy to defeat Daesh, which has ruthlessly exploited divisions and targeted the marginalised and disenfranchised.

Iraq is among the most deadly countries in the world for civilians, with thousands injured and killed by explosive weapons and other conflict-related methods each year.

The UN estimates that ten million people require some form of humanitarian assistance and 3.3 million are internally displaced. Last year, more than 7,500 people were killed and nearly 15,000 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict.

The Iraqi people truly deserve a salute for their sacrifices, patience and resilience in the face of Daesh’s murderous campaign. Innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of violence and this is totally unacceptable.

The Sharjah-based daily concluded by saying, “It goes without saying that top Iraqi political leaders need to do more to advance national reconciliation and peace.”