U.N. backs Iraq’s fight against militants
Security Council condemns the ISIL’s attacks and praised the “great courage” of Iraqi security forces
The U.N. Security Council on Friday backed an Iraqi government campaign to recapture provincial strongholds from al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The 15-nation council agreed on a statement backing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s armed forces and a coalition of local tribesmen battle to regain parts of the Anbar province from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
The council condemned the ISIL’s attacks and praised the “great courage” of Iraqi security forces operating in Anbar.
“The Security Council expresses its strong support for the continued efforts of the Iraqi government to help meet the security needs of the entire population of Iraq,” said the statement.
The council further urged “Iraqi tribes, local leaders, and Iraqi security forces in Anbar province, to continue, expand and strengthen their cooperation against violence and terror and it stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity.”
ISIL loyalists took advantage of a surge of anger among Sunni Arabs at the clearance of a year-old protest camp outside the city of Ramadi on Dec. 30 to seize large swathes of the city and the whole of Fallujah to its east last week.
As part of a major offensive to expel ISIL fighters, tribal fighters and police retook two areas of Ramadi on Friday.
Violence kills 60 in Anbar
On Saturday, an official said fighting between security forces and ISIL militants in Anbar has killed at least 60 people over the past two weeks.
The head of Anbar’s Health Directorate, Khudeir Shalal, said that 43 people were killed in the city of Ramadi and other 17 were killed in Fallujah since violence erupted in the western province.
Shalal said a total of 297 people were wounded in both cities. He was unable to provide a breakdown of how many of the dead were combatants and how many might have been civilians caught in the fighting. He said Iraqi military casualties were not included.
However, according to an Associated Press count at least 50 civilians and militants were killed during the military operations in Anbar during the past two weeks.
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