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Siege of Amirli

Siege of Amirli
Part of the Iraq War (2014–present), the Military intervention against ISIL,
and the Salahuddin campaign (2014–15)
Salah Al-Din map.svg
A map of Saladin Province, where Amirli is located
Date 11 June 2014 – 31 August 2014 (2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days)
Location Amirli, Salah ad Din Governorate, Iraq
Result Decisive anti-ISIL allied victory
(Allies break the siege)
Territorial
changes
ISIL is driven out of the eastern part of the Saladin Governorate
Belligerents

Islamic State

Ba'ath Party Loyalists

Iraq Iraqi government

Iran Iran[3][4]

Special Groups[1]

Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan

Air support:

Aid support:[7]

Commanders and leaders

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader of ISIL)
Abu Omar al-Shishani (Military Chief)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Muslim al-Turkmani (Deputy, Iraq)
Iraq Abdul Emir al-Zaidi
Iran Qasem Soleimani[3][9]
Iraqi Kurdistan Kareem Mullah Shakoor
Hadi Al-Amiri
Kareem al-Nouri
Muqtada al-Sadr
Strength
Unknown Badr Brigades: 4,000[1]
Casualties and losses
147 killed[10]
15 captured[11]
16 killed[12]
6 executed
39 wounded[10][12]

The Siege of Amirli was a siege of the predominantly Shi'ite Turkmen town of Amirli in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) during the 2014 Iraq conflict. The town was besieged by ISIS forces from June 2014, lacking access to food, electricity, and water. Most the residents are Shia Turkmen, who have organized local self-defense militias to fight against ISIS.[13] On August 31, the Iraqi military reportedly broke the siege and entered the town.[14][15] It has been described as "Iraq's Biggest Victory Against ISIS", as of September 2014.[9]

Iran had reportedly played a "military planning" role in breaking Siege of Amirli.[3]

Events

Siege

The siege began in June, after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces advanced on Iraqi positions in Northern Iraq. They attacked the town, but failed to capture it after townspeople armed with AK-47s put up resistance. However, ISIS had more powerful weapons compared to the local militia, prompting fears that they would try to storm the town.[16] ISIS forces continued to fire mortars and rockets into the town and launched raids against it. 20,000 citizens in Amirli were in danger from being killed by ISIS, dying from thirst or hunger.

The United Nations expressed concern over the situation in Amirli, and warned about the possibility of ISIS committing a massacre in the town.[13]

Military efforts

On 30 August, the Iraqi Army, Shi'ite militias and Peshmerga started a campaign to break the siege, after the speaker of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Abdul-Mahdi al-Karabalai, called to move and break the siege by ISIS on the town.[10] The forces attacked ISIS from three areas, the army attacked from the south of Amirli in Adhaim, the Peshmerga attacked from the north in Tuz Khormato, the militias attacked from the east in Kifri.[17]

Kataib Hezbollah helicoptered in 50 of its best fighters, according to Abu Abdullah, a local Kataib Hezbollah commander. The fighters set up an operations room to coordinate with the Iraqi army, the other militia groups, and advisers from the Quds Force, the branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that handles operations outside Iran and oversees Tehran's Iraqi militias.[18]

On 31 August, the United States, France, United Kingdom and Australia began humanitarian aid drops, like food, water and medical supplies, to help prevent a potential massacre against the Shi'a Turkmen minority in Amirli.[14] The US also carried out air strikes on ISIS positions around and near Amirli. Iraqi officials stated that they had reached Amirli and broken the siege and that the military was currently fighting to clear the areas around the town.[15]

On the same day, with the support of the US Air Force, the offensive troops succeeded in breaking the siege and freeing the villages around it, with the local citizens cheering and celebrating the end of the siege.[11] The speaker of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Qasim Atta, stated that the troops succeeded in breaking the siege by entering the Amirli from the south.[11] The offensive forces are proceeding in opening the Baghdad-Amirli road.[19]

Aftermath

After regaining control over Amirli, on 1 September, the Iraqi Army and its allies went on and retrieved the town of Suleiman Bek (90 km east of Tikrit) from ISIS.[20][21] An Iraqi official stated that 23 Chechens from ISIS were killed, including 10 snipers.[22]

Following the operations to end the Amirli siege, pro-government militias and volunteer fighters as well as Iraqi security forces raided Sunni villages and neighborhoods around Amirli in Salah al-Din and Kirkuk provinces. Many were villages that ISIS had passed through and in some cases used as bases for their attack on Amirli. During the raids, militiamen, volunteer fighters and Iraqi security forces looted possessions of civilians who fled fighting during the onslaught on Amirli; burned homes and businesses of the villages' Sunni residents; and used explosives and heavy equipment to destroy individual buildings or entire villages. The Human Rights Watch documented the abduction of 11 men in the course of the government’s operation, but local residents said many other men of fighting age had gone missing.[23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "The Iraqi troops launches a huge operation to break the siege of Amirli". Rai Alyoum. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  2. ^ [time.com]
  3. ^ a b c Coles, Isabel (September 1, 2014). "Iranians play role in breaking IS siege of Iraqi town". Reuters. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ AHMED, AZAM (September 2, 2014). "Waging Desperate Campaign, Iraqi Town Held Off Militants". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "التركمان يشاركون في معركة تحرير تكريت بلواء من 4 آلاف مقاتل". Almada. 23 March 2015.  Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Iraqi Town Besieged by Islamic State Pleads for U.S. Help". Wall Street Journal. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "US planes drop aid and strike IS positions near Iraq's Amerli". BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "نقش ایران در پیروزی پیشمرگه‌ها بر دولت اسلامی". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Rosen, Armin (September 3, 2014). "Iran's Military Mastermind Was Reportedly Present During Iraq's Biggest Victory So Far Against ISIS". Business Insider. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "A brutal battle with ISIS to break the siege of Amirli". Al Ghad. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Iraqi and Kurdish troops enter the sieged Amirli". BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Peshmerga and Iraqi forces enter Suleiman Bek town". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Iraq conflict: UN warns of possible Amerli 'massacre'". BBC. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Iraqi forces 'reach besieged Amerli'". BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Iraqi army breaks ISIS siege of Shi'ite Turkmen town of Amirli". CBS. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "ISIS Lays Siege to Iraqi Turkmen Village". TIME. August 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Iraqi army launches a military operation to break the siege of the Turkmen Shi'ite town of Amirli". France 24. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Special Report: The fighters of Iraq who answer to Iran". 
  19. ^ "Freeing Amirli from ISIS and military deaths in Ramadi". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Iraq regain control over Amirli and Suleiman Bek". Al-Akhbar. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Suleiman Bek is completely liberated, and 23 Chechens from ISIS were killed". Al Alam. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "23 Chechens died in Suleiman Bek, east of Tikrit". Al Sumaria. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "After Liberation Came Destruction". Human Rights Watch Publications. Retrieved 2 April 2015.