Nation & World News

U.N. Warns Of ‘Possible Massacre’ In Northeastern Iraq

By Scott Neuman on August 23rd, 2014

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The United Nations is calling for action to prevent what it’s describing as a possible massacre in Iraq’s northeastern city of Amerli, which has been under siege for two months by Islamic State militants.

The city’s population is largely Turkmen Shia, seen as apostates by the hard-line Sunni Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

The situation in Amerli, where people are reportedly without electricity or drinking water and said to be running low on food, bears a striking similarity to what occurred at Mount Sinjar earlier this month: Yazidis there were surrounded and many killed by militants largely because of their minority religious beliefs. The U.S. conducted airdrops of humanitarian aid to the trapped Yazidis at Sinjar and airstrikes against the Islamic State fighters besieging the mountain.

In a statement issued in Baghdad today, Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special representative in Iraq, described “unspeakable suffering” in Amerli.

Immediate action is needed “to prevent the possible massacre of [Amerli’s] citizens,” he said.

“The town is besieged by ISIL and reports confirm that people are surviving in desperate conditions. I urge the Iraqi Government to do all it can to relieve the siege and to ensure that the residents receive lifesaving humanitarian assistance or are evacuated in a dignified manner. Iraq’s allies and the international community should work with the authorities to prevent a human rights tragedy,” Mladenov said.

Amerli, with an estimated population of about 18,000, has been besieged by Islamic State insurgents for weeks.

Iraq’s most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, also expressed concern Friday over the plight of Amerli, according to Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The plight of the Shiite villages, about 100 miles north of Baghdad, is among several crises the U.S. is evaluating to gauge whether American airstrikes could help. But so far, no plans have been presented to the Pentagon for an imminent operation, according to Defense Department officials.

“An intervention to save the population could raise pressure on the U.S. to address a number of other looming humanitarian disasters that Iraq’s military has been helpless to prevent.”

As we reported Friday, U.S. officials have declined to rule out expanding airstrikes against the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State and have become increasingly alarmed over the group’s “growing capacity” in recent months, as it has made significant territorial gains in Iraq.

On Saturday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement that it had conducted additional airstrikes using fighter aircraft against Islamic State militants in the vicinity of Mosul Dam in northern Iraq. The latest strikes, it said, bring the total to 94 in Iraq since Aug. 8.

Also on Friday, gunmen killed dozens in a Sunni mosque in the northeastern Diyala province.

Earlier this week, Islamic State murdered U.S. journalist James Foley, posting a video of the beheading on social media. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said the group is “beyond anything we’ve seen.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

The Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, says executions dropped in part because some states had issues with their lethal injections.


Putin: Sanctions, Falling Oil Prices Causing Ruble’s Tumble

In a year-end news conference, the Russian President said the worst-case scenario for his country’s economy would involve two more years of unease.


New Era For Cuba? Voices From Miami And Havana

In Miami, home of the largest Cuban diaspora, two generations faced off on the streets. In Havana, demonstrators spoke of hope.


The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. voted against Arizona's appeal, which would have allowed a state ban on drivers licenses for young undocumented immigrants.

Supreme Court Refuses To Block Arizona Driver’s Licenses For ‘Dreamers’

Arizona’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed to prevent the state from having to issue driving permits to undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children.


George Stinney Jr. appears in an undated police booking photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. A South Carolina judge vacated the conviction of the 14-year-old, who was executed in 1944, saying he didn't receive a fair trial.

S.C. Judge Says 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

In her ruling, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote that she found that “fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr.”


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments