This article is about the insurgency in Iraq after the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. For the insurgency in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003, see Iraqi insurgency (2003–11). For the insurgency in Iraq after the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, see Iraqi insurgency (2011–2013).
Fighters of a self-defense group in northeastern Iraq in June 2018. ISIL still has a presence in remote areas of the country, often attacking small villages and forcing the locals to fight or flee.
9 December 2017 – present (2 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 3 days)
The insurgency is a direct continuation of the Iraqi Civil War from 2014 to 2017, with mostly Sunni rebel groups continuing armed opposition against the Shia-led Iraqi Government. Along with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), other insurgents fighting the government include a group known as the White Flags which is reportedly composed of former ISIL members and Kurdish rebels and is believed by the government of Iraq to be part of Ansar al-Islam and possibly affiliated with al-Qaeda. The group operates mostly in the Kirkuk Governorate and has used an assortment of guerilla tactics against government forces. Other factions opposed to the Iraqi government include the Iraqi Baath Party currently led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri a former official to Saddam Hussein during his rule in Iraq and has been active in Iraq's conflict since the US-led invasion in 2003 leading multiple factions including the Naqshbandi Army and Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation. In September 2017, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, called on ISIL supporters around the world to launch attacks on Western news media and continued in his message the ISIL must focus on combating the two-pronged attack on the Muslim Ummah; these statements marked a departure from previous rhetoric which was focused on the state building of ISIL and heralded a shift in ISIL's strategy toward a classical insurgency.
Course of the insurgency
Since ISIL's loss of Mosul in late 2017 which was declared as Iraq's victory over ISIL and widely seen as an end to the Civil War, and declared as such by Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, multiple incidents of violence have occurred being carried out by the conflicting sides, in spite of Iraq's declaration of victory over ISIL the group is widely seen as far from gone and continues to retain a presence throughout Iraq, and still capable of carrying out attacks and skirmishes with pro-government forces. ISIL has been waging a guerrilla war with a strong presence in the governorates of Kirkuk, Diyala, Saladin, and Sulaymaniyah, with local forces largely ill-equipped and inexperienced, ISIL has also taken advantage of the areas rough terrain to carry out operations. ISIL has also made a notable presence in the cities of Kirkuk, Hawija and Tuz Khurmato and has carried out attacks at night in rural areas.
ISIL fighters also reportedly move through villages during the day without interference from security forces, and locals have been asked by ISIL to give fighters food and give information on the whereabouts of Iraqi personnel, locals have also stated that ISIL fighters will frequently enter into Mosques and ask for Zakat to fund the insurgency. Among ISIL's operations include assassinations, kidnappings, raids and ambushes.
According to the Pentagon, as of fall 2018 ISIL was still stronger than it was between 2006–2007, when the group declared the Islamic State of Iraq during its incarnation as al-Qaeda in Iraq, citing a UN report which claimed that ISIL still had 20,000–30,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq. That claim of strength was simultaneously tempered though, with the Pentagon saying that ISIL had lost all of its territory and fighters were scattered, making them much less of a threat. The Pentagon predicted that ISIL will lose strength because of their dispersion in a way similar to what happened to al-Qaeda, while also warning that ISIL is still in a position to make a comeback.
Following ISIL's defeat they have been greatly weakened and violence in Iraq has been sharply reduced in 2018. Only 95 people lost their lives during the month of May, the lowest figure in 10 years.
Between January and February 2018, Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga clashed with the White Flags around parts of the Kirkuk and Saladin governorates for control of oil fields which the Iraqi government claims the group's priority is. The Iraqi government said in the clashes the composition of the White Flag's fighters are ISIL members and individuals linked to the Kurdish mafia, the government also alleges that the Kurdistan Region allowed oil theft to occur in the area while it was under their control and enabled ISIL for their own interests.
In March 2018, in two separate attacks ISIL reportedly killed 10 individuals including a pro-government Sunni tribal Sheikh along with his son and guests at his house in the town of Al-Shirqat south of Mosul, in the other attack ISIL killed 5 individuals from the same family whom were Iraqi Turkmen and Shia at a fake checkpoint set up by the group posing as Iraqi security forces.
22 March 2018 - Six individuals and 15 others were at a checkpoint set up by ISIL the group killed six individuals and injured 15 others from the Iraqi Turkmen minority on their way to Erbil from Baghdad between Tuz Khurmato and Daquq to celebrate Nowruz. The attack was condemned by Turkey and Zowaa claimed one of their MPs was present during the attack but managed to escape unharmed.
2 April 2018 - PMF Major General named Ali Khalifa was killed in an operation around Tuz Khurmato and Kirkuk against ISIL and the White Flags.
8 June 2018 - The Government of Canada announced that it will suspend Canadian support for Peshmerga and work exclusively with the Iraqi government, in a statement a Canadian military official said "We have changed … partners," a Canadian General told reporters about the shift in support "Training with the Peshmerga was ceased when it was no longer of any value in terms of the battle against Da’esh [IS]."
11 July 2018 - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would lead a NATO mission to Iraq with European allies to send 250 Canadian soldiers to Baghdad, 50 will be doing the actual training while the other 125 will be doing force protection and another 20 will help run Canadian headquarters in Baghdad.
4 August 2018 - Chairman of the Iraqi Baath Party, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri in a statement broadcast on Facebook in commemoration of the anniversary of the Baath Party called on Iraqis to continue fighting the Iraqi government and allied Iranian backed groups, calling them Safavids. He also called on Saudi Arabia to intervene against Iran's influence in Iraq and praised the country. Additionally, he condemned the battle of Mosul and other battles that led up to it and claimed that Haidar al-Abadi had ordered the destruction of the cities of Ramadi, Tikrit, Fallujah and others.
11 August 2018 - ISIL launched an attack from the Hamrin Mountains on the village of Albu Juwari north of Baiji. In an interview with Iranian Press TV, a militia fighter affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces in the village claimed that in the clashes 5 of his family members were killed by ISIL and a sixth was left critically injured.
6 September 2018 - Mortar fire was reported near the US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone from a neighborhood controlled by the PMF's component Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, a Shia paramilitary group backed by Iran. The group fired 120mm mortars, and in response the embassy did take security measures. No casualties or injuries were reported, .
26 September 2018 - An Iraqi commander with the PMF's 21st Brigade survived an ISIL assassination attempt that included the use of a roadside IED in the Mutaibija region of Saladin. While he did survive, three of his guards were reported wounded. ISIL reportedly continues to carry out sporadic clashes with its campaign compared to the 2013 offensive, eventually leading to the 2014–17 Civil War.
1 October 2018 - A roadside bomb planted by ISIL in the Kirkuk Governorate near Hawija killed an Iraqi police officer and wounded two others. On the same day, ISIL published photos of a night raid in the village of Daquq, in the southern part of the Kirkuk Governorate, showing fighters burning down the house of a village elder cooperating with the Iraqi government. ISIL also carried out a series of attacks targeting electrical facilities to sabotage the electrical grid to cutoff electricity for the Iraqi military and allied forces around Kirkuk. ISIL fighters also planted explosives around several transmission towers, and the destruction of the towers caused several blackouts in Hawija and Kirkuk.
3 October 2018 - The Government of Germany announced a planned extension of its military involvement in Iraq for one year to combat ISIL but will end air reconnaissance missions by 31 October 2019. On the same day unknown gunmen, believed to be ISIL, killed an individual by driving up to them in a car and opening fire, the targeted individual reportedly died at the scene as a result of the gunshot wounds.
4 October 2018 - An operation against ISIL was started by the Iraqi military along with the military forces of France and the United States under the CJTF-OIR coalition in the Anbar Governorate around the city of Qaim and the Syrian border where ISIL continues to operate and maintain a strong and large presence. During the operation ISIL claimed to thwart an American-led assault near the Syrian border and also claimed to have killed 3 US soldiers and wounded 4 others in the clashes, the US military has not confirmed or denied the claimed losses.
5 October 2018 - US-led coalition planes bombed an ISIL position in the village of Kushaf near the Tigris river in the Kirkuk Governorate, reportedly killing 6 ISIL members. ISIL detonated a roadside bomb, killing an oil employee and injuring 11 others in a bus in Baiji in the Saladin Governorate. In a separate attack in Fallujah in the Anbar Governorate, ISIL detonated a car bomb injuring an Iraqi policeman and 3 others. ISIL released a video from Kirkuk, showing its fighters planting IEDs and carrying out ambushes or raids on Iraqi outposts. The video also claimed that the group has killed and injured more than 927 government forces since 2017 in the Kirkuk region, and in the end video the group executed several individuals in remote areas and assassinated two individuals cooperating with the Iraqi government at their houses.
7 October 2018 - ISIL claimed responsibility for the detonation of an explosive device in the Kadhimiya neighborhood of Baghdad that resulted in the death and injury of 12 Shiites.
8 October 2018 - Iraq's interior minister Qasim al-Araji posted a video on his Facebook page which claimed that an unnamed extremist group is behind the murder of 22 year-old Iraqi model Tara Fares. Fares, who won Miss Baghdad in 2015, was shot and killed while driving her car in Baghdad in September. On the same day, ISIL militants shot dead 2 Iraqi Policemen at a checkpoint near Mosul, and fled the scene afterwards.
9 October 2018 - 4 PMF militia fighters were killed in an attack by ISIL in the Hit district of Al Anbar Governorate.
10 October 2018 - At least 10 Iraqi security forces were killed when ISIL insurgents attacked a gas field on the western part of Al Anbar Governorate.
16 October 2018 - An Iraqi policeman was killed while 2 others were injured fighting with ISIL in western Kirkuk. On the same day Iraqi Federal forces detained a Kurdish reporter covering news about strikes in Tuz Khurmatu in anniversary of the Iraqi takeover of Kirkuk.
17 October 2018 - An unofficial ISIL linked media outlet claimed the death of 6 Badr Organization militia fighters in Diyala as the result of ISIL IED.
20 October 2018 - An explosive device detonated at a mosque in the Zubeir district of Basra, no group has claimed responsibility nor were any casualties or injuries reported.
23 October 2018 - A car bomb went off in the Qayyara district of Mosul killing 6 individuals and leaving 30 injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing; however, Iraqi officials have accused ISIL of carrying out the attack.
24 October 2018 - Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that Turkey would support the Iraqi government in reconstruction and in training the Iraqi military as part of a NATO mission saying, "Iraq’s reconstruction is important. We (Turkey) are the most generous country. We pledged $5 billion loan [for Iraq]. Our firms will benefit from this money with investment, trade and by undertaking projects [there]" adding "Now, as NATO, we will train Iraqi security forces".
26 October 2018 - Five individuals were killed in Al-Ba'aj in the Nineveh Governorate west of Mosul after being abducted by ISIL for cooperating with the Iraqi military by gathering information about the group.
28 October 2018 -South Korea sent a shipment of 6 KAI T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said this was the third shipment of fighters jets provided by South Korea. On the same day the Iraqi military accidentally shelled a village in the Diyala Governorate due to suspicion of ISIL presence. No casualties were reported. This is reportedly the second such incident in the month, with the last incident happening days before.
30 October 2018 - 2 Shiite pilgrims were killed and another injured in an ISIL attack on an Arbaeen celebration in the town of Khanaqin in the Diyala Governorate, after the explosion police reportedly attempted to defuse a device.
31 October 2018 - A man was killed and his son were injured in a suspected ISIL attack near a shrine in the town of Makhmur, Iraq.
1 November 2018 - A land mine struck a vehicle of a governor near Baiji, two of his bodyguards were injured while the governor escaped unscathed. Another bomb targeting a military patrol exploded in West Mosul killing a soldier and injuring at least 7 more, ISIL was most likely behind the attack. On the same day clashes occurred between Arab and Kurdish farmers in Daquq due to Arab farmers asking Kurdish farmers to leave the area, while the Kurdish claimed the area was theirs.
2 November 2018, ISIL claimed to have killed a French soldier via the Amaq Agency whom was cooperating with Peshmerga in a combined operation in the village of Balkanah in the Tuz Khurmato district of the Kirkuk Governorate, ISIL published the claims in Arabic and French, the French military denied the claim via Twitter. On the same day ISIL began attempted to infiltrate Iraq from Syria in Rabii'a sub district 130 kilometers west of Mosul. In the clashes 4 Iraqi soldiers & 2 ISIL fighters were killed near Iraqi border.
4 November 2018 - A series of bombings struck several different areas in the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, killing at least 7 people and injuring an additional 14. ISIL claimed responsibility for the bombings.
8 November 2018 - A car bomb exploded near a restaurant in the Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least 4 people and injuring 12 according to Iraqi officials. ISIL was most likely behind the attack.
9 November 2018 - 3 civilians were killed in an armed attack by ISIL in a village located near southern Mosul.
11 November 2018 - 9 people including 8 civilians and a tribal fighter were killed when ISIL attacked a house of a fighter of the Tribal Mobilization Forces near the Al-Karmah area in Iraq.
12 November 2018 - 2 people were captured including a policeman and a civilian and then executed by Islamic State militants in a village in the southern Kirkuk Governorate.
15 November 2018 - A bomb detonated while a police vehicle was travelling from Mosul to a nearby village, leaving 2 civilians dead and a policeman injured. ISIL was most likely behind the attack.
18 November 2018 - A car bomb detonated in the city of Tikrit, killing 5 civilians and injuring 16 others. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.
19 November 2018 - A bomb and shooting attack on a police patrol killed an officer and wounded 4 others in the area of the Khanaqin. No group claimed responsibility, but ISIL was most likely behind the blast.
22 November 2018 - A roadside bomb detonated near a bus in a town near Mosul, killing 4 schoolchildren and injuring 7 others. No group claimed responsibility, but the attack was blamed on ISIL. That same day, 2 paramilitary soldiers were killed and 4 others wounded when their vehicle ran over a landmine near the Badush Dam. The landmine had been planted by ISIL.
17 March 2019 -Clashes between the Iraqi Army and PKK in Sinjar left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead and 5 militants wounded according to the Iraqi Military. The fighting started after PKK militia fighters were denied passage though an army checkpoint.
In June 2019, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy said "Five years ago, ISIS controlled approximately 55,000 square kilometers and more than 4 million people in Iraq lived under their oppressive rule, Now they do not." He added, "The more capable Iraq's security institutions, the more resilient Iraq will be in the face of malign foreign actors bent on coercion and exploitation."
7 July 2019 - The Iraqi army launched an Operation, dubbed "Will of Victory" to clear the Salahaddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces of ISIL sleeper cells. It had concluded by 11 July 2019.
4 August 2019 - ISIL claimed to have destroyed 4 Iraqi government vehicles and to have killed a police officer with an IED in Baghdad, ISIL later released a video showing the attack.
20 September 2019 - 2019 Karbala bombing: An unidentified man boarded a minibus in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, disembarking a little later after having left a bag behind. It exploded shortly afterwards, killing 12 and wounding five others. The suspect was later arrested and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility. The bombing was one of the worst attack against civilians since the end of the Civil War.
Coalition airstrike on ISIL positions, Qanus Island, Iraq, September 2019
21 October 2019 - ISIL attacked an Iraqi security checkpoint in the Allas oilfields area in northern Salahuddin province, killing 2 and wounding 3 security members.
30 October 2019 - Rockets were fired into the Green Zone in Baghdad near the US embassy amid mass protests against the Iraqi government, an Iraqi soldier was reportedly killed by the rocket fire.
26 November 2019 - 6 ISIL members were killed following a police chase in the area of Wadi al-Karha, southwest of Kirkuk.
3 December 2019 - Iraqi security forces announce the capture of Baghdadi's "deputy" who operated under the name of "Abu Khaldoun". According to security officials, a police unit in Hawija, Kirkuk Governorate, tracked down Khaldoun to an apartment in the March 1 area where he was hiding; he possessed a fake I.D. under the name of Shaalan Obeid when apprehended. Khaldoun was previously ISIL's "military prince" of Iraq's Saladin Governorate.
16 January 2020 - An Iraqi SWAT team announced the capture of ISIS mufti Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, in Mosul who authorized the destruction of Prophet Jonah Mosque on 24 July 2014. Amusingly, he was taken away on the back of a truck, since he weighted 254 kilograms (560 lb).
19 January 2020 - Iraqi counter terrorism forces (ICTS) arrested an ISIS security official in Fallujah.
8 March 2020 - Two American soldiers were "killed by enemy forces while advising and accompanying Iraqi Security Forces during a mission to eliminate an ISIS terrorist stronghold in a mountainous area of north central Iraq", according to the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad. The two U.S. Marine Raiders were killed in the Qara Chokh Mountains near Makhmur.
This list includes WWI and later conflicts (after 1914) of at least 100 fatalities each Prolonged conflicts are listed in the decade when initiated; ongoing conflicts are marked italic and conflict with +100,000 killed with bold.