Mohammad 9 and Evin 8, two victims of Erbil-Baghdad tension

December 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Mohammad 9 and Evin 8, killed in Kirkuk on October 16 (photo: courtesy of the family)

Sirwan Shamel was on duty on 16th of October in Kirkuk Azadi General Hospital as scores of injured civilians were rushed into the emergency department. Then he saw his wife crying uncontrollably at the entrance to the hospital and he immediately knew something terrible must have happened to his children who were supposed to be on their way out of the city.

As the Iraqi security forces tried to extent the authority of the federal government over Kirkuk and other disputed territories on October 16, clashes occurred between peshmerga, Kurdish volunteers and the Iraqi security forces. As the clashes intensified, thousands of Kurdish civilians fled the city towards Sulaymaniyah and Erbil.

Nine year old Mohammad one day before he died at Azadi hospital in Kirkuk (Photo: 18 October 2017)

Sirwan’s wife and three children got into a neighbour’s vehicle and joined the exodus of thousands of people fleeing the city. On the way out, the vehicle came under fire and Sirwan’s daughter Evin was killed immediately and his son was seriously wounded. Mohammad who was nine years old was hit in the head by a bullet and after three days in intensive care, he also passed away.

Sirwan and his wife are left with one daughter.

There is no accurate data about how many people were killed or wounded in the events of October 16 when Iraqi security forces attacked Kirkuk and other areas and retook them from the peshmerga forces.

Sirwan’s family lived in Kurdistan neighbourhood (formerly Faylaq) and came under attack on Erbil-Kirkuk road near Arafa neighbourhood.

Sirwan Shamel saying his prayers at the grave of his two children (photo: Kirkuknow, 19 November 2017)

When the fighting started, people started fleeing out of the city and at that time, Sirwan’s neighbour Yasin called him to inform him that all the neighbours had gone and he was also leaving the city taking his family and if he agreed he could take his family too in his vehicle, Sirwan agreed.

“When we arrived near Arafa, a few bullets hit the rear window and Evin died immediately and we took injured Mohammad to Shorsh hospital and from there to Kirkuk hospital in an ambulance,” Yasin told Kirkuknow. “That was one of the most difficult days of my life.” Mohammad died three days later.

There has been no compensation for the victims of the events in Kirkuk and other disputed areas who were caught up in the October 16 violence.

Evin and Mohammad with their little sister (photo: courtesy of the family)

Balen Ghalib a cousin of Sirwan says when they collected the body of Evin that day, they could not bury her because of the violence and shooting and had to wait for several hours and finally laid her to rest in the evening.

Sirwan decided not to leave the city on October 16 and held his children mourning ceremonies in the city where they were killed.

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