Yazidis in Sinjar in the shadow of political rivalries

June 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Tension in northern part of Sinjar is high between various groups (photograph: Renas Raman, 14 June 2017)

Mohanad Sinjari

The conditions of living for those Yazidis who have returned to the northern part of Sinjar mountain is difficult and unstable. The reason is the tension that exist between various forces that are operating in the area.

The entire population of the Sinjar were forced to flee in the summer of 2014 when Islamic State militants attacked the region killing and enslaving thousands of people.

Before the southern part of Sinjar was retaken by Popular Mobolisation Units (PMU) earlier this month hundreds of families had returned to the northern parts including to Sinune which is under peshmerga control and Khanasor settlement which is under Sinjar Protection Units (YBS) an affiliate of the People Protection Units (YPG) of Syrian Kurdistan.

The tension between the Roj peshmerga which consist of Syrian Kurds trained by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) forces and YPG affiliated groups means that those who have returned to the northern part are living in fear and still have no services.

Naif Samir a member of the Khanasor Council which is part of Council of Sinjar Canton  says their council is there to serve people and someone’s politicial affiliation has no bearing on the services but in Sinune political affiliation matters. Samir says they receive assistance and aid from the Syrian Kurdistan through NGOs and distribute it equally amongst the population. He called on the central government to provide services to the Khanasor settlement.

Children play in a playground in Khanasor (photograph: Kirkunow, May 2017)

On the morning of 3rd of March, when the Roj peshmerga wanted to enter Sinune, they were stopped by the YBS and clashes broke out in which one person died and around 10 people were wounded.

Vian Khalil a resident of Khanasor told Kirkuknow that in Sinune and Khanasor food and aid is distributed based on political affiliation, and the Yazidis who have returned are the main losers of this rivalry between the armed and political groups. Both the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government have neglected those who returned to the areas north of Mount Sinjar, Khalil says.

Naif Sido the administrator of Sinune says that once the area was retaken, they contacted both the Nineveh and Duhok governorates to assist them with repairing the roads and bridges. Afterwards the Sinune administration worked with the UNDP and other international NGOs to assist the locals who have retuned. Sido hopes to be able to provide electricity to the Sinune area from Rabia by August of this year.

Sido told Kirkuknow that even before Isis attacked Sinjar, the area was neglected because it falls into the disputed areas.

Sido states that the NGOs have been helpful and fixed some houses for habitation in various settlemenrts but because the Khanasor settlement is under the control of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), it has been cut off from the rest of the area.

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