By John Lee.

Sonangol has said it plans to increase production at its Najmah and Qayara oilfields to about 230,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The Angolan state oil company owns 75 percent of the oilfields, south of the city of Mosul, with estimated oil reserves of more than 1 billion barrels.

Output at Qayara is currently 40,000 bpd.

(Source: Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has conducted an urgent needs-assessment mission to Qayyarah’s Jadaa internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Ninewa governorate to assess the health situation of the population affected by the heavy rain which caused flash flooding in a number of IDP camps in the governorate.

Tens of thousands of families have lost all their belongings and are reported to be in dire need of food, drinking water, medicine, and hygiene kits.

A slight increase in the number of upper respiratory tract infection cases were reported in the visited camps and health partners there were notified to monitor the situation and immediately report any change in communicable disease trends through the WHO Early Warning Alert and Response Network (EWARN).

“WHO is working closely with partners and local health authorities to manage the emergency and meet the urgent health and sanitation needs of thousands of families hit by the flash floods in Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates,” said Dr Adham Rashad, Acting WHO Representative in Iraq. “The situation requires a collective humanitarian effort and a quick reaction to minimize risks and contain the damage,” he added.

A shipment of blankets has been delivered to IDP camps in the district of Qayyarah and medical supplies, kits, and ambulances are on the way for deployment to badly affected areas in the affected governorates.

As of 23 November, heavy rain has hit the country causing flash floods that have led to the damage of property, livestock, and infrastructure in Ninewa, Salah Eldin and the southern governorates of Missan, Wasit and Basrah. A number of bridges, roads, and villages were inundated and more than 10 000 people in Salah Eldin and 15 000 people in Ninewa governorates are in urgent need of assistance, including thousands of families living in IDP camps.

WHO remains ready to support the Ministry of Health and local health authorities to address the impact of the floods and reduce the suffering of the vulnerable populations in the IDP camps and other under-recovery areas in Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has announced the resumption of production at Qayara oil field in Nineveh province.

The field has been rehabilitated following its destruction by the Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh).

It is currently producing 30,000 barrels of oil per day, with a plan to increase to 60,000 bpd by the end of the year.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

(Picture: Crude oil running through the streets of Qayara following damage caused by Daesh. Credit: UNICEF)

Two former detainees and the father of a man who died in detention have provided details of ill-treatment, torture, and death in facilities run by the Iraqi Interior Ministry in the Mosul area, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday.

A detainee held by the ministry’s Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Office in an east Mosul prison from January to May 2018 said he witnessed and experienced repeated torture during interrogations, and saw nine men die there, at least two from the abuse.

Another man from Mosul, arrested in March by local police, died during police interrogation in the Mosul police station, his father said. And a man who was held in the Intelligence and Counter Terrorism prison in Qayyarah said he saw other men returning from interrogations with signs of abuse on their bodies.

More here.

(Source: HRW)

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has installed water desalination stations for the displaced families in Qayarah and Erbil camps.

The IRCS has reported, “the IRCS teams in Erbil center have installed water station (m40) with a capacity of 600 thousand liters to provide water for more than 40,000 displaced at Khazer and Hasan Al-Sham camps in collaboration with France Red Cross.

While in Salahuldin center, the IRCS teams have also installed water desalination stations (RO) for the displaced families from Mosul in Jada camps and Madraj camp in Qayarah district, in cooperation with the Danish Refugees Council (DRC), in order to provide water for more than 1000 displaced people, a team trained by the IRCS are operating these stations.

The IRCS has installed water purification stations (RO) in six Iraqi governorates, to provide the drinkable water for the families in the outback and the far areas from the center of the governorates.

(Source: IRCS)

After more than 100 days of hard urban combat, Iraqi officials announced the liberation of eastern Mosul on Tuesday.

While clearance operations are ongoing, the Iraqi security forces control all areas inside the city east of the Tigris River, the east bank of the river around all five bridges crossing the Tigris River, Mosul University and the Ninevah Ruins.

During their offensive to liberate the city of more than one million residents, which was held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for more than two years, the Iraqi and peshmerga security forces fought through an elaborate defense formed over the past two years to not only keep the Iraqi security forces out, but the residents of Mosul captive.

Through it all, the Iraqi security forces displayed their professionalism by placing the lives of citizens before their own and taking precautions to protect the citizens of Mosul while battling a brutal and fanatic enemy, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said.

Meanwhile, they added, ISIL resorted to using children and other civilians as shields against coalition and Iraqi air and artillery strikes and used protected facilities such as hospitals, mosques and schools as weapons storage facilities and bases for its terrorist operations.

Air Strikes

Since Oct. 17, the coalition has conducted 558 air strikes in assistance of the Iraqi forces, using 10,115 munitions against ISIL targets. These munitions have destroyed at least 151 vehicle bombs, 361 buildings/facilities, 140 tunnels, 408 vehicles, 392 bunkers, 24 anti-air artillery systems, and 315 artillery/mortar systems.

During the offensive, the Iraqis fended off an average of five vehicle bombs a day, and endured daily mortar and sniper attacks, as well as surveillance and frequent attacks by ISIL unmanned aerial systems dropping grenades on friendly forces.

“This is a monumental achievement for not only the Iraqi security forces and sovereign government of Iraq, but all Iraqi people,” said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the multi-national counter-ISIL coalition tasked with the military defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

“This would have been a difficult task for any army in the world,” Townsend said. “And to see how far the Iraqis have come since 2014, not only militarily, but in their ability to put their differences aside and focus on a common enemy, gives real hope to the people of Iraq that after years of fighting and instability, peace and security are attainable.”

“There is still a long way to go before ISIL is completely eliminated from Iraq, and the fight for western Mosul is likely to be even tougher than the eastern side,” he said. “But the [Iraqis] have proven they are both a professional and formidable fighting force and I have every confidence that ISIL’s days are numbered in Iraq.”

“The warriors of the coalition join me in congratulating our comrades in the Iraqi security forces on this achievement and wish them good luck and Allah’s blessings for the fight on the west side that lies ahead,” the general said.

The coalition trains, equips and enables the Iraqi and peshmerga security forces with advise and assist teams, intelligence, artillery and air strikes. Since the start of operations in October 2014, the coalition has trained more than 50,000 Iraqi fighters and launched more than 17,000 strikes on ISIL targets in support of its partners on the ground.

Over the past two years, with coalition training and equipment, the Iraqis rebuilt their military and liberated more than two million people and major population centers such as Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit, Kirkuk, Qayyarah and Sharqat. Now they are well on their way to the complete liberation of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, officials said.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

Forces of the Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) have launched at least three chemical attacks on the Iraqi town of Qayyarah, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The use of toxic chemicals as a means of warfare is a serious threat to civilians and combatants in and around the embattled city of Mosul and is a war crime.

The attacks hit the town of Qayyarah, 60 kilometers south of Mosul, in September and October after Iraqi government forces retook the town on August 25, 2016.

The attacks caused painful burns to at least seven people consistent with exposure to low levels of a chemical warfare agent known as “vesicants,” or blister agents, a chemical weapons expert told Human Rights Watch.

Lama Fakih, HRW deputy Middle East director, said:

ISIS attacks using toxic chemicals show a brutal disregard for human life and the laws of war.

“As ISIS fighters flee, they have been repeatedly attacking and endangering the civilians they left behind, increasing concerns for residents of Mosul and other contested areas.”

Iraqi and Kudistan Regional Government forces, supported by a United States-led coalition, have been moving up the Tigris River, retaking towns and villages from ISIS. The Qayyarah attacks preceded the military operations that began on October 17 to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

More details here.

(Source: Human Rights Watch)

The Iraqi government and humanitarian organizations are currently dealing with the aftermath of Daesh’s “scorched earth” policy in the Qayyarah area, which has posed a twin threat of smoke from oil fires and sulphur dioxide from the Mishraq Sulphur plant, which was set on fire by Daesh but has now been extinguished.

At Qayyarah, 19 oil wells were set on fire by the terrorists, some of which are still burning.

This crisis occurred in August, ahead of Iraqi forces’ advances, when Daesh appeared to be attempting to burn the town, and according to some sources, set the Tigris River on fire with oil slicks. The Tigris River is a main source of freshwater for millions of Iraqis.

UN Environment chief Erik Solheim called this crime “ecocide,” and compared it to the environmental destruction caused by Saddam Hussein’s wars.

Last week, NASA released satellite images showing the Sulphur Dioxide plume in the region (pictured) which had injured 1000 residents and killed two in the vicinity of Mosul.

(Source: Iraqi Embassy in London)

Three months ago, four Air Force engineers with the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group arrived in northern Iraq to conduct a reconnaissance mission for what would become a historic undertaking. The engineers were informed their task had never been attempted in Iraq.

Their mission: Mitigate runway damage caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The 1st ECEG took the mission, and last night, when the telltale cadence of four turboprop engines grew louder and louder, they knew their hard work had paid off.

Over the last two years, ISIL severely damaged the runway at Qayyarah West Airfield — a major strategic airfield in northern Iraq’s Ninawa province. ISIL detonated explosives, used an excavator with a hammer attachment, and created deep trenches to damage the runway in several different ways.

Logisticians deployed in support of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve are enabling Iraqi forces as they push to retake Mosul. They need larger, fixed-wing aircraft to expeditiously move larger amounts of supplies to the Iraqis, and those aircraft need a proper runway.

Airmen assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing complete a concrete taxiway repair at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 19, 2016. 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group airmen recently used similar techniques on a much larger scale to repair damage caused by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists at Qayyarah West Airbase in northern Iraq’s Ninawa province. Air Force photo by Heide Couch

In order for a C-130 Hercules cargo plane to land, it requires a runway the length of 33 football fields.

Air Force Maj. Jason Stevens, 1st ECEG officer in charge of the project, detailed the project during its outset.

“We’ll be on the ground for about three weeks to fix the damage,” Stevens said. “It’s been a long time in the planning process. The guys are doing amazing work. They are making excellent progress. We are on schedule and we are moving forward every day.”

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Friday afternoon that Special Forces from the elite “Golden Division” (Counter Terrorism Services, CTS) have advanced to the town of Tob Zawa, and are now one mile from Mosul.

This is despite a desperate attempt by Daesh to slow progress by setting fire to the Mishraq Sulphur Plant. Despite the fire, government advances have continued (see below for Iraqi MoD data on Daesh losses.)

Tob Zawa is the 90th settlement retaken in the first week of the offensive and follows the liberation of Bartella, also by Golden Division forces. The latter victory fulfils a promise by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units that “the bells of Mosul’s Churches will ring again.

To the eastern axis of approach to the city, Kurdish Peshmerga and CTS forces are coordinating with the Iraqi 9th Armored Division and 16th Division, reaching the edge of Bashiqa, while Iraqi Federal Police entered the Shura district to the south.

Securing the advance to the south, an alliance of Sunni tribal fighters, the Iraqi Army 15th Division and Popular Mobilization Forces are securing the approaches to the city. To the north, Kurdish Peshmerga and CTS are also advancing despite a failed Daesh attack on the town of Sinjar.

In addition to Daesh’s burning of oilfields at Qayyarah, the destruction of the Mishraq facility further demonstrates the appalling disregard for civilians the group has, which affects all Iraqi communities.

Elsewhere in Iraq, dozens of Daesh fighters were killed during attempts to stall the Mosul advance by attacking in Kirkuk over the last weekend and also attempting to capture Rutbah in Anbar province. Anbar governor Suhaib al-Rawi confirmed on October 25th that Iraqi government forces and tribal fighters had repelled a Daesh attack on the town.

While these local Daesh attacks make headlines, the terrorist gangs are now far too weak to stop the inevitable liberation of Mosul. Because of this, the group has been changing its information campaign to emphasize “temporary retreat,” or “inhiyaz.” Iraqi government forces and the Coalition are working to ensure this retreat is permanent.

Total enemy losses since the 17th of October 2016 until 12:00 pm on 27th of October 2016:

  • Killing of 772 terrorists and capturing 23
  • Capture of 492 weapons
  • Capture of 7 explosive belts
  • Destruction of 4 booby-trapped homes
  • Destruction of 3 tunnels
  • Destruction of397  explosive devices
  • Destruction of 6 anti-aircraft cannons
  • Destruction of 202 battlefield weapons
  • Destruction of a large weapons warehouse
  • Destruction of a Terrorist Command Centre
  • Destruction of the 40 terrorists’ defensive positions
  • Finding 2 explosive plants

By day 10 of the operation, the Iraqi Ministry of Defence listed the following villages and settlements in Ninewa as having been liberated, including:

Baz Khara, Baz Kartan, Tarjala, Kaberli, Kharab Sultan, Sheikh Amir, Shaqouli, Badanet Alkobra, Badanet Alsoghra, Alsrt, Mohandes Alnaser, Alsayawia, Alzayiwa, Wadi Alsaf, Wadi Alfaj, Jadida Alfaj, Jadida Alghriba, Alnajma Alsofla wa Alolia, Kabr Naief, Alnasiah, Said Hasan, Albejwanieh Alsofla wa Alolia, Bashmana, Alsarj, Alhoud, Almohandes Alsharqi, Allazaka, Alzawiah, Alkhaldiah, Ein Marmiah, Albejwana Althalitha, Aldarj, Albakr Alola, Albakr althaniah, Alrafla, Bartalah, Alshwerat, Maftal, Talol alnasir, Om Almanasis, Tal alshok, Rafilah, Alsalhiah, Sedawa, Alheej, Almakouk, Aldwezat, Alkhabata, Almeshrag, Alsafinah, Na’na’, Alhamdaniah, Harara, Alraseef, Alshora aljadeda, Ibrahim Alkhali, Aladalah, Kani harami, Balawat, Esfe, Twaibah, Abu faska al olia wa alsofla, Ikhwaniah, Ein, Alshak alolia wa sofla , Alsafinah, Alsajma, Saf altot, Talol almahar, Karmls, Alkhafsan, Zalhafa, Khaznah, Khaznah Tabah, Tarab, Zawa, Almawfqiah, Tahrawa, Saf Altooth, Zalhafa, Kanbas, Talol Almahar, Alsajma , Abu Fashka, Manteqet Alqalaat.

(Source: Iraqi Ministry of Defence)