Villages evacuate as rising insurgency targets new territory

Outside of northern Iraq’s fortified urban centers, insurgents have prevented resettlement in rural areas and are now causing residents to flee from villages previously considered safe.
Hadi al-Amiri (R), the head of the Badr Organization, speaks with officers on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah, in Diyala province, on Jan. 23, 2015. (STRINGER/Reuters)

KHANAQIN - One year after the liberation of Mosul, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group's escalating insurgency has prevented resettlement throughout much of northern Iraq - and is now driving residents away from areas that were previously considered safe.

This week alone, residents of Awammr, an Arab Sunni-majority village near Qara Tapeh, in northern Diyala province, fled their homes because of threats and attacks from IS insurgents who are increasingly asserting control of the area.

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