Terrorism and other Violence Killed Nearly 7,000 Civilians in Iraq in 2016
The United Nations said Monday that terrorism and other acts of violence in Iraq killed at least 6,878 civilians and wounded another 12,388 last year.
But the casualty figures may actually be higher because they do not include civilians who were killed or injured in Iraq's western Anbar province during the months of May, July, August and December.
The U.N. said civilian casualty figures for December are lower compared to previous months, despite noticing an increase in terrorist bombings toward the end of the month that targeted civilians.
"There is, no doubt, an attempt by Daesh (an Arabic acronym for Islamic State) to divert attention from their losses in (the Iraqi city) of Mosul and, unfortunately, it is the innocent civilians who are paying the price," said Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Iraq.
Syrian Rebels Suspend Plans for Taking Part in Peace Talks
Syrian rebels say they are suspending negotiations to join peace talks in Kazakhstan later this month because of what they say are repeated cease-fire violations by Syrian government forces.
A coalition of mostly moderate rebel groups, the Free Syrian Army, put out a statement Monday saying, "they respected the cease-fire across the whole of Syria...but the regime and its allies have not stopped shooting and have launched major and frequent violations."
The rebels say any advance by the Syrian army violates the cease-fire and that they will consider the truce to be "null and void."
Russia and Turkey, which are organizing the peace talks, have not yet commented on the rebel statement.
The cease-fire took effect last week. But the rebels say Syrian fighters and their Hezbollah allies are still striving to recapture a rebel-held area near Damascus in which the city's water supply is located.