Three more brigades of pro-Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces PMF have been deployed in Shingal, west of Mosul, homeland of Ezidi religious minority, to confront any sudden offensive by Turkey in Iraq.
The three brigades range from 9,0000 to 10,000 militants of PMF, totaling the number to more than 20,000. They moved to Shingal and its suburbs on Thursday per orders from commander of armed forces, Iraqi Pm Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Khal Ali, commander of PMF in Shingal, said few days ago they got instruction from Baghdad to deploy in Shingal to confront any offensive by Turkey into Shingal. "According to our information, Turkey wants to attack Shingal and deploy the Peshmarga here. This is unacceptable and we are ready to fight Turkey.
"According to our information, Turkey wants to attack Shingal and deploy the Peshmarga here. This is unacceptable and we are ready to fight Turkey."
Part of these troops conducted a parade in the area. Ali told Kirkuk now that there were only 12,000 members of PMF before the three brigdae back up.
When Shingal fell under reign of ISIS in 2014, Iraqi troops backed by Kurdish Peshmarga and pro- Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK fighters' ousted ISIS and deployed in the region. Currently there are at least five security forces in Sinjar, which are PMF, pro-PKK Shingal Protection Units (YBS), local Police, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and KRG's Yazidkhan Peshmerga.
Turkey launched an operation, “Claw Eagle 2”, against (PKK) fighters in Gara Mountain the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk. Earlier, Turkey claimed it has netted a senior PKK militant in a secret operation Shingal region.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed end of January to attack Shingal at any time in pursuit of groups affiliated to PKK based in the region.
The Turkish army regularly conducts cross-border operations and air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq.
"Our commanders told us we will never leave Shingal for Turkey and (Kurdish) Peshmarga. We are also deployed in Rabi'a on Iraq-Syria border and will never let Erdogan's dream come true," Ezidi commander of PMF added.
Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region Government KRG agreed to appoint a new mayor and jointly provide security in Shingal but the “Shingal agreement” signed in October 2020 is not effective yet.
The agreement aims at ousting all other militant groups from Shingal particularly pro-PKK groups. Some locals demonstrated the agreement saying they were not consulted or involved in decision making.
In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square km, the federal and regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district, and five different security forces are present.
Dakhil Murad, head of Democratic Autonomous Council, formed by pro-PKK groups and Shingal people in Khana Soor to run the region, said they have received reports since a week that Turkey is planning to launch a military operation in Shingal.
"Our troops are deployed all over Shingal villages and compounds along with PMF and Iraqi arym. We are ready for any attack," Murad Added. Neither Baghdad, nor Erbil recognized Democratic Autonomous Council that administers Shingal.
"Our troops are deployed all over Shingal villages and compounds along with PMF and Iraqi arym. We are ready for any attack," Murad Added.
"We have heard that the Peshmarga plans to come back to Shingal but officially nothing declared and its all rumors. May be it's just a psychological war."
The KRG supports implementation of Shingal agreement. KRG PM Masrour Barzani said on Wednesday that Shingal Agreement has not been implemented in accordance with the terms. "Forces that were supposed to withdraw remain in the area. We remain committed and call for the full implementation of the agreement," he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, one of the main Iraqi Kurdish parties led by Masoud Barzani, denied PKK accusations of collaboration with Turkey in a statement on Thursday.
The Kurdish Peshmarga denies any plans to return to Shingal soon. "Rumors about return of Peshmarga these days to Shingal are not true and we have not received any orders in this regard, Qasim Darbo, a commander of Shingal Peshmarga forces told KirkukNow. "Turkish army operation in Gara does not mean necessarily it will attack Shingal as well."
Despite panic of the public, the pro-PKK administrations confirm that the region is stable. Khudeda Chuky, mayor of Sinuny sub-district, north of Shingal District, under pro-PKK administration, said the situation in Shingal is safe and stable and deployment of PMF troops in ordinary. "We are not afraid of threats by Turkey and we believe in our troops."