News Alerts

21 Nov 2019 | 07:58 AM UTC

Iraq: Security forces fail to retake central area in Baghdad November 20-21 /update 58

Iraq News Alert

Protesters continue occupying Al-Sinak bridge in Baghdad despite efforts by security forces to disperse them on November 20-21; heightened security presence and associated disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/20/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/22/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Baghdad). COUNTRY/REGION Basra, Az Zubayr

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Security forces reportedly tried to take back Al-Sinak bridge in Baghdad from protesters during the night of Wednesday, November 20, into the morning (local time) on Thursday, November 21. Local sources report that security forces failed to disperse demonstrators from the bridge, despite using tear gas and live ammunition. Casualty figures from the operation remain unclear as of 10:00 on Thursday.

In Basra, protesters have reportedly erected a marque on the outskirts of Az-Zubayr town, near the main oilfield sites. Members of the Beit Waifi tribe are blocking the route to Majnoon and ECP 1 oilfields again, as of Thursday morning.

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in Baghdad, Basra, and other major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Disruptions to Internet and telecommunications services are also expected to continue amid the unrest. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely near all protest sites.


Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. More than 300 people have been killed and 10,000 wounded since protests began. On October 31, President Barham Saleh announced that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign if the Iraqi parliament's party blocs can agree on a replacement.


Individuals in Iraq are advised to monitor the situation and refrain from nonessential travel to the border regions with Iran.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.


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