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Sectarian Division in the Battle for Fallujah

Michael Pregent

Iraqi forces and allied Shiite militias began an assault on the ISIS-held city of Fallujah on Monday. Less than 40 miles from the capital of Baghdad, it was the first Iraqi city to fall into the control of the militant jihadis in January of 2014.

An estimated 50,000—predominantly Sunni—civilians remain trapped inside the city, as ground troops and American-led air support advance towards the city’s center. But their liberation is endangered by potential sectarianism, as Shia militias have been accused by human rights groups of abusing Sunnis in the past.

Most recently, Ramadi, the capital of the mostly Sunni Anbar Province, was reduced to rubble after Iraqi forces retook it from ISIS.

Will the same happen in Fallujah?

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