New Awakening? Locals in Kirkuk Slowly But Surely Turn Against Extremists
Sunni Muslim extremists continue to kidnap, execute and otherwise impose their authoritarian rule on locals in the areas they control, such as in southwestern Kirkuk. Slowly but surely though, local resistance against them is growing. Tribal leaders suggest an organized, salaried force is in development.
On the 12th day after the Sunni Muslim extremist group known as the Islamic State, or IS, took control of southwestern parts of the province of Kirkuk, some of their fighters paid a visit to the house of a local tribal leader.
IS group fighters looted and destroyed the home of Sheikh Anwar al-Assi in the village of Arumel, south west of Kirkuk city. They did so because the sheikh had refused to swear allegiance to them.
The attack came despite the fact that al-Assi heads the Abid tribe in the area and that this tribe is one of the major Arab tribes here, and also has members in other parts of Iraq.
Al-Assi then left his village and went to Sulaymaniyah, inside the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is controlled by the Iraqi Kurdish military – he had word that next the IS group planned to kill him.
“The IS group kidnaps and executes anyone who doesn't cooperate with them as well as those they have doubts about,” al-Assi told NIQASH. “Those who don't swear allegiance are accused of working for the government or of trying to form militias to fight against them – all grounds for execution, in the IS group's opinion.”
“Lately fighters from the IS group have been kidnapping a lot of local people,” al-Assi says, adding that the fighters are becoming more and more violent and unjust. “Not even women have been spared. Fighters kidnapped four women from their homes in the Hawija district recently.”