Iraqi Special Forces Take Back Parts of Fallujah From ISIS
Iraqi Special Forces Commander Haidar al-Obeidi told the Associated Press on Friday that they have started to take back parts of besieged Fallujah from ISIS. He said they took over “a government building and neighborhood in the city.” That neighborhood was a strategic base for ISIS.
He said Iraqi forces are currently attempting to reclaim a hospital from ISIS. However, they are battling intense sniper fire, according to the AP article.
For the first time since 2014, Iraqi forces have entered some of these areas previously held by ISIS. The U.S. is providing air support to aid in the operation.
This comes after more reports of ISIS brutality against civilians. A report came out yesterday of a two-year-old boy being shot and killed while in his mother’s arms as they were trying to escape Fallujah through an irrigation trench filled with water.
The humanitarian crisis is still ongoing. Now, the UN World Health Organization is concerned about disease spreading through the city. In a report released yesterday by the UN, they spoke with a health official close to the situation.
“The health situation inside and around Fallujah is deeply worrying,” said Ala Alwan, a Regional Director with the World Health Organization. “We are concerned about the low immunity status of children as no immunization services have been possible for the past two years.”
Alwan also said there are hundreds of pregnant women trapped in the city that cannot get access to medical care.
He said lack of funding is a major issue. “The situation is extremely difficult and complex. Additional resources are required to provide urgent health assistance to thousands of families. WHO is disappointed by the inadequate levels of funding for the health sector, which is a major impediment to the response.”
The WHO is rendering assistance to fleeing civilians by operating eight mobile health clinics and delivering “medicines, medical supplies and emergency kits.”