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Anbar works to prevent personal vendettas against ISIS families

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad

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Anbar police receive displaced families who returned to their homes following the province's liberation from the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'. [Photo from the Anbar police Facebook page]

Retaliatory acts against the families of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements will not be tolerated, Iraqi and tribal officials told Diyaruna, stressing that these people will be treated fairly under the law.

Tribal leaders in Anbar have temporarily prevented the families of ISIS elements from returning to the province in order to avoid sparking a wave of retaliation among the local population.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi has made it clear these families should be treated as normal citizens, said Anbar provincial council member Naeem al-Koud.

They should not be considered guilty "by association with their ISIS sons", he told Diyaruna.

That said, al-Koud added, legitimate concerns remain regarding the threat these families might pose when they return to the province, as it is possible some could provide a safe haven to ISIS remnants.

Residents must turn any concern about suspicious individuals over to law enforcement authorities to handle, he stressed, rather than taking matters into their own hands.

Preventing personal vendettas

Anbar's tribes have been working hard to prevent personal vendettas targeting ISIS families, Anbar Tribal Council head Abdul Wahab al-Sarhan told Diyaruna.

He called on those who have suffered at the hands of ISIS to seek justice rather than to retaliate.

In order to prevent retaliation attempts, "tribes in Anbar province have decided to prevent the return of ISIS families to their homes for the time being until things calm down and victims are given compensation", he explained.

"Tribal leaders are continuously working on resolving conflicts and assuaging tribal resentment, while being committed to protecting innocent women and children from ISIS families," he added.

Tribal elders handed over lists of ISIS elements they have disowned to the security forces in Anbar so they can be brought into custody, he said.

"Only 1% of families fully disowned their sons since the start of the crisis," he said, noting that these families have been allowed to return, and have been accepted back into the community by locals and the security forces.

Upholding the rule of law

Anbar's tribal elders and the commanders of tribal mobilisation forces have pledged to stand by the security forces and legal authorities when dealing with ISIS families, said Falah al-Qaraghouli, a tribal mobilisation forces commander.

"The law prevails, and any sort of retaliatory action against ISIS families will not be tolerated," he told Diyaruna.

"If someone is suspected of belonging to a terrorist group, they will be dealt with by the relevant legal authorities," al-Qaraghouli said.

With the exception of a few cases in remote areas known for their support of ISIS, there have been no instances of residents seeking revenge in the province.

"Incidents of revenge are negligible and have been perpetrated in a personal rather than official capacity," he said.

"Tribal mobilisation forces in the province are fully compliant with the law," he added, noting that they have been fully occupied with maintaining stability in the province since the defeat of ISIS.

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