EASO COI Report. Targeting of Individuals


This report aims to provide information on topics related to the targeting of individuals by armed actors in Iraq, as well as by sectors of society. The report deals with the modus operandi, methods and targeting strategies used by armed actors, both on the side of the insurgents as on the side of state armed actors and affiliated armed groups, in the context of the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Society-based targeting on issues such as transgression of social norms, gender, crime, or on the basis of particular identities, is also discussed in a separate chapter.

This report is written in conjunction with additional reports on Iraq on the topics of: Actors of Protection, Key socio-economic indicators (Baghdad, Basrah, Erbil), Internal mobility, and Security situation. This report on targeting should be read in conjunction with the 2018 report titled EASO COI Report – Iraq: Actors of Protection.

This report was drafted by experts from the Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless persons, in the Documentation and Research Centre (CEDOCA).

Furthermore, the following national asylum and migration departments have contributed by reviewing this report together with EASO:

The Netherlands, Office for Country Information and Language Analysis, Ministry of Justice

Denmark, Danish Immigration Service

The drafting of this report was finalised in December 2018. Any event taking place after this is not included in this report.


As a result of an increase in violence and terrorist acts, the security and human rights situation in Iraq has deteriorated since 2013 and further escalated with the ground offensive that IS launched in June 2014. This has led to a bloody internal armed conflict. Citizens are being targeted by the conflicting parties for ethnic, religious or political reasons. In 2015, the military pressure on IS increased and the Iraqi Security Forces, backed by Shia militias and the Peshmerga, recaptured some areas from it. In 2016, IS lost more ground to government forces. The recapture of IS-controlled areas has clearly led to an improvement in the general security situation in Iraq. In 2017, violence continued to decrease in Baghdad.

The available information shows that there are still significant differences in the level of violence and the impact of the IS ground offensive according to the region considered. These strong regional variations characterise the security and human rights situation in Iraq. This means concretely that the situation in Central Iraq is different from the situation in South Iraq and the Kurdish Autonomous Region.


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