U.S. helps Iraqi forces, militias to free besieged Amerli town


iraq  amerli mapWith U.S. warplanes opening a new front against Islamic State extremists, Iraqi forces and Shiite Muslim militiamen on Sunday broke the militant group’s nearly three-month siege of the northern town of Amerli as beleaguered residents greeted them with cheers.

Iraqi soldiers entered the farming town about 100 miles north of Baghdad a day after launching a ground operation aimed at freeing the 15,000 mainly Shiite Turkmen residents, who had been encircled by the Sunni Arab militants since June.

Residents said the soldiers brought gasoline and doctors to help alleviate what human rights activists described as one of Iraq’s gravest humanitarian crises.

Amerli had been surrounded, its electricity cut off and supplies of food, potable water and essential medicines running low. Residents had taken up arms to defend their town against the Sunni militants, who view Shiites as apostates and had laid siege to several nearby Turkmen villages as they marched across northern Iraq in recent months.

“A lot of soldiers are here now, so finally we feel relieved,” said Sami Beiram, a resident and volunteer fighter interviewed by phone from Amerli.

“But we still need food, we need water, we need electricity, we need all these things.”The Pentagon said late Saturday that it carried out airstrikes in the area and dropped humanitarian aid by plane into Amerli at the request of the Iraqi government, marking the first time that U.S. forces had struck so far to the east since launching the air campaign in mid-August.

The operation came after days of mounting pressure for the U.S. military to help Amerli, which the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Nikolay Mladenov, warned was facing a potential “massacre.” Some activists accused the Obama administration of having a double standard after launching airstrikes and delivering aid to trapped Yazidis, a minority sect whose members were being targeted by Islamic State forces elsewhere in northern Iraq.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the airdrop in Amerli was carried out jointly with Australia, France and Britain, and that U.S. warplanes “conducted coordinated airstrikes against nearby [Islamic State] terrorists in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation.”

Officials cast the mission in humanitarian terms, but the operation also placed the United States on the same side of the battlefield as controversial Shiite militias that have allied with the Iraqi government against the Islamic State. They include the feared armed wing of the Badr Organization, a Shiite political party that allegedly ran death squads blamed for killing untold numbers of Sunnis during Iraq’s sectarian civil war.

islamic state mapThe Badr militiamen were among the first to enter Amerli with the Iraqi forces on Sunday, residents said, probably boosting the group’s standing among Shiites. The party’s leader, Hadi Amiri, is a close ally of Iran who is angling for a senior position in Iraq’s new government.

Advocates cared little about any of that on Sunday.

“It doesn’t matter who frees the people of Amerli as long as the siege is broken,” said Rushdie Hussain Ali, an officer with the Iraqi Turkmen Front political organization in the northern city of Kirkuk. “The United States did the right thing on humanitarian grounds.”

The operation was the latest boost to Iraqi government forces, who have rolled up a string of victories after ceding large chunks of territory to the extremists since June. Last week, Kurdish Iraqi forces routed Islamic State militants from the northern district of Zumar, extending the government’s control west of the strategic Mosul dam, which the Kurds retook in mid-August with U.S. air support.

The Kurdish soldiers, known as peshmerga, reportedly played a supporting role in the Amerli operation. A spokesman for the Kurdish semiautonomous administration, Ari Mamshae, tweeted that peshmerga arrested 56 Islamic State fighters.

Fighting continued into Sunday evening in villages close to Amerli where militants had been holed up, residents said. Iraqi forces were reportedly coming under fire from snipers posted in the hamlet of Suleiman Beg, just outside Amerli.

The US has been supporting Iraqi forces with air strikes on jihadis, as well as in the humanitarian effort. Aid packages from the US included around 10,500 gallons of drinking water and around 7,000 meals
The US has been supporting Iraqi forces with air strikes on jihadis, as well as in the humanitarian effort. Aid packages from the US included around 10,500 gallons of drinking water and around 7,000 meals

About 500 Iraqi soldiers and volunteer fighters were inside Amerli while a large contingent was posted on the road north to the nearby town of Tuz Khurmatu in an apparent effort to create a humanitarian corridor to allow some residents to flee.

“There are some fights, but mainly everything is good now,” said Ali Bayati, an Amerli resident who leads the Turkmen Saving Foundation, a local human rights organization. “The siege is relieved and all Amerli people are happy.”

LA Times



20 responses to “U.S. helps Iraqi forces, militias to free besieged Amerli town”

  1. Shirdel2142 Avatar

    Finally some good news 🙂

    1. MekensehParty Avatar

      Thanks to?
      Hint: not Iran

      1. $89733098 Avatar

        lol yeh thanks to the yanks….. for being the air force for the shite terrorists militias. Is that what your air force is good for nowadays?

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          People on the ground noticed the accuracy. And thanked them.
          But here’s comment from your Sunni side … I selected paragraphs – link at bottom if you want it all. Logic of the Tribes. 😉
          Stifled by the Islamic State (IS) militants in their own areas, Iraqi Sunni rebels who took up arms against the Shia-dominated government of Nouri Maliki are signalling for the first time that they are ready to turn against IS if Sunni rights are enshrined in a reformed political order in Baghdad.
          The rebels, including tribal militants and former army personnel organised in military councils throughout the Sunni areas, see American and international guarantees as crucial to any such deal.
          “We don’t want guns from the Americans, we want a real political solution, which the US should impose on those people it installed in the Green Zone,” said Abu Muhammad al-Zubaai, referring to the Iraqi political leaders who took over after the US-led occupation in 2003.
          “The IS problem would end. If they guarantee us this solution, we’ll guarantee to get rid of IS,” said Mr al-Zubaai, a tribal leader from Anbar province speaking on behalf of the rebels, using a nom de guerre.
          “Living with IS is like holding burning coals in your hand,” said Mr al-Zubaai. “They do not tolerate any other flag to be raised. They control all Sunni areas now.”
          With the Americans and other powers becoming involved, the rebels fear they will simply be tarred as IS terrorists and the Sunni areas reduced to rubble.
          “The Sunnis feel that everybody is ganging up on them, that they are targeted by everybody,” said Mr al-Zubaai.
          “Appointing someone from the same Dawa party to succeed Maliki is like appointing a Baathist to replace Saddam Hussein,” said Mr al-Zubaai.
          “These people have been involved in the political process since 2003, and they achieved nothing,” said Mr al-Zubaai.
          They say they have written to the Americans, but received no substantive response.
          Mr al-Zubaai warned against allowing the situation to drift.
          “If things stay the same, a new generation will emerge, beyond the control of the US or Iran or Syria – hundreds of thousands of young men will join up with IS,” he said.
          “This is a danger the West should be aware of – they have millions of [Muslim] youths, free to embrace the ideology of IS, to wave its flag in the streets.”

          1. $89733098 Avatar

            My Sunni side at 5th??
            Very disappointed in you.

          2. Anti ISIS Avatar

            Come on Barabie, that is the only side you have. Everybody is evil except you Sunni brethren. At least that’s how you come across.

          3. $89733098 Avatar

            Is your name 5th?

          4. $89733098 Avatar

            I asked u numerous times the following question and u keep avoiding it; what religion r u

          5. Anti ISIS Avatar

            I’m a Alawite Barabie. The religion that Sunni’s call Infidels. The religion that Sunni’s claim has been taken from Christianity and Judaism. The religion that Sunni’s claim worships a Man who ate, married, had children and died. The religion that Sunni’s claim has a secret teaching that only males can learn. The religion that the Sunni’s claim treats their woman as second class humans. The religion that Sunni Clerics have told their follows to kill in the name of God.

          6. $89733098 Avatar

            See that wasn’t so hard. Yet I clearly recall u denying u were alawite when someone else said u were. I know very very little about the alawite religion besides what asshead has shown me. But I won’t judge the whole religion based on him coz there were many alawites at the beginning who rose up against that murderer. Which proves that he doesn’t necessarily represent your religion.

          7. Anti ISIS Avatar

            I never denied it Barabie. I just don’t see any reason as to why it matters. My closest friend is a Christen. We never bring up religion because it really doesn’t matter. I treat him like a brother and he treats me the same. And that’s all that should matter.

        2. MekensehParty Avatar

          Oops, I understand your frustration, sorry we took your future home in Amerli.
          I hear Raqqa is a beautiful place though.

          1. $89733098 Avatar

            When u need to resort to lies and fabrications then it proves that what I said is the truth. Keep being the Air Force for the drill gangs of sadr and badr. Good boy. Now play dead!

          2. Anti ISIS Avatar

            Play dead or stay dead. lol

          3. $89733098 Avatar

            Lol looks like we dislike the old broom more than each other 🙂

          4. Anti ISIS Avatar

            The guys an idiot. He hasn’t anything good to say except thank the yanks for this and thank the yanks for that. Never condemning what they have done around the world.

      2. Shirdel2142 Avatar

        I have no problem with that party boy,as long as people are saved from this fanatics i’m happy 🙂

    2. 5thDrawer Avatar

      In the ‘Great Belief’ that they would be loved, they may have over-extended themselves.
      A ‘Napoleonic’ error. 😉

      “Armed residents had managed to fend off attacks by ISIS fighters, who encircled the town and regarded its majority Shiite Turkmen population as apostates. More than 15,000 people had remained trapped inside Amirli.
      One Shiite fighter said all militia groups were present, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Hezbollah and Moqtada Sadr’s Peace Brigades.
      “Everyone is here,” the fighter said speaking on condition of anonymity. “We came to break the siege of Amirli. We came out of humanity. When the siege of Amirli is broken we will go back to our normal lives.”
      (just shooting at the next village tribe – much more safe)

  2. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Love ‘news’ texting ….
    “first time that U.S. forces had struck so far to the east”
    Hmmm .. that was .. errr … about 35 seconds ??? Ok. 65 seconds.
    They need to slow down to make a shot.

  3. Don,t believe America .They are hiding their bad plan to destroy both syiah and Sunni by showing some helping hand.At the past they are wolves and will continuing to be that animal.The worse they are helping Jews Israel,serving Israel Jews,who are their master.American civilians are good people .But not their politician and armies.Muslim will get more suffer if they still fully believe on these wolves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *