UNITED NATIONS, September 2 (RIA Novosti) –The two month siege of a Turkmen community in Salah al-Din Governorate in Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) was finally broken Tuesday, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon supporting actions of Iraqi government forces.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed “the lifting of the siege on the town of Amerli in Iraq through the action of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and others with air support from the United States. This has averted a major humanitarian as well as human rights disaster.”
Ban Ki-moon expressed “appreciation to those, who participated in lifting the siege, as well as to the countries, providing assistance to the affected population through air drops.”
Testifying September 1 to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the UN's Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said that “at least 13,000 Turkmen villagers, including some 10,000 women and children – were until yesterday besieged by ISIL [IS] and associated armed groups in Amerli, in Salah al-Din Governorate. The siege had been underway for more than two months, generating severe shortages.”
Ban Ki-moon concluded his speech by welcoming “the action of the UN Humanitarian Country Team who, in coordination with the local and national authorities, succeeded in distributing the first of a planned series of life-saving supply convoys to the children and families of Amerli.”
IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a jihadist group, originally composed of a variety of Sunni insurgent groups and with close ties with al-Qaeda.
IS militants have been fighting alongside the other rebel groups against the government forces in the Syrian civil war, before launching an offensive in Iraq in June 2014. Later in June, IS announced the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.
Islamic State militants attack ethnic and religious minorities by seizing their territories, forcing them to flee, abusing, torturing and even killing them.