Iraq Engaged in Collective Punishment for ISIS Relatives

Family Members Sent to 'Rehabilitation Camp'

Human Rights Watch has issued a report today related to Iraqi government treatment of relatives of ISIS fighters, saying the government is engaged in collective punishment and has been systematically herding these families into a large camp.

As opposed to its early days in Syria, when their force was almost entirely foreign jihadists, ISIS in Iraq has been a force dating back to the 2003 US invasion, and having held Mosul for over two years, a lot of ISIS fighters had their families in the nation’s largest Sunni city.

The Iraqi military has been insisting that those families are a threat to “long-term stability,” portraying some as enemy combatants, and just rounding up all the rest into a secretive “rehabilitation camp” for the indeterminate future.

Iraqi officials downplayed the reports of forced evictions and detentions, insisting the families came along willingly, and that therefore they weren’t really being forced. At the same time, Iraqi forces are summarily executing detainees, so those who didn’t agree to go to the camps are likely never heard of again.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of