Ezidis push armed groups out of towns

Ninewa, February 11, 2022: The Iraqi army bans a protest by supporters of pro-PKK groups. Roj News

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The residents of a one of the towns of Shingal district west of Mosul have evacuated their town from militants and gunmen following the End of April clashes between the Iraqi army and armed groups affiliated to Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK.

The armed confrontations downtown of the war-torn Shingal, home to the Ezidi community, forced hundreds of families to escape the fighting in Sinuny sub-district to the district of Shingal and adjacent Duhok Northern Province.

At the early hours of May 2nd, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, troops of the Iraqi army with heavy weapons supported by warplanes attacked two points of Ezidkhan Asayish, part of Yabasha or YBS, in Sinuny. Two were killed and 12 were injured from both sides, sources affirmed to KirkukNow.

On the 18th and 19th of April, armed clashes erupted after an army force asked pro-PKK Ezidkhan Asayish members to evacuate a military post near Sinuny sub-district of Shingal. A fighter of Yabsha was killed three injured, in addition to the injury of 21 soldiers of the army Iraqi army and three civilians.

Pir Dyan Jafar, the director of migration and displacement of the KRG in Duhok said they have received another 98 families from Shingal on May 3rd, total 841 families following recent tensions.

The locals of Dugry complex of Sinuny has forced YBS and Ezidkhan Asyaish to evacuate their bases in town, leaving the provincial police in control, one of their main demands on May 6th protests.

Khudeda Chuky, mayor of Sinuny, confirmed that YBS and Ezidkhan Asayish (Secuirty), Ezidkhan Protection Forces and the Iraqi army withdrew from the complex and only local police is in town.  

The militants group affiliated to Kurdistan Workers' party PKK in 2014 provided a narrow safe escape from the grip of the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS for the civilians to Mount Shingal and from there to the IDP camps in Duhok where still thousands of Ezidis live in tens of camps under tents, reluctant to return to the war-ravaged region.

Upon the demands of people, we have withdrawn our forces

YBS and the Ezidkhan Asayish forces, which are close to the PKK, fighting Turkey since 1980s and holding territories in Iraq, are under the authority of the Autonomous Administrative Council in Shingal which administers Shingal though not recognized by the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

The district of Shingal, 120 km west of Mosul, administratively affiliated to Ninewa province, and part of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil, is home to over 300,000 Ezidis.

“Upon the demands of people, we have withdrawn our forces. Currently no Pehsmerga is left there and this is a good step to sort out the security situation in Shingal,” said Haydar Shasho, commander of Ezidkhan Protection Forces who had stationed 25 Peshmerga in town.


Khudeda Alias, the official of the Autonomous Administrative Council in Sinuny district, told (KirkukNow), said they had three checkpoints in Dugry upon demands of the locals to other areas. “Noe even a fighter is left in Dugry and its suburbs.

“We have an agreement with the army to withdraw but they did not despite calls by locals for local police only to stay in town,” he added.

The Iraqi army denied any agreement with the YBS.

“The Iraqi army is still deployed in Dugry and have not withdrawn while the Yabasha have withdrawn upon orders of the Iraqi government,” said Saad Qasim, media officer of Division 20 of the Iraqi army in Shingal.

At present, the Iraqi government considers the implementation of the terms of the 2020 Shingal agreement concluded between the unilateral government and the Kurdistan Regional Government the only way to resolve the Shingal issue, which stipulates the need for forces close to PKK to evacuate their headquarters in Shingal, but the agreement has not been implemented so far in light of the presence of Eight different armed forces.

In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square kilometers, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule following the claimed defeat of IS in 2017: three local administrations want to administer the district, and eight different armed groups are deployed.

Video: Locals in Borik compound of Sinuny asked armed group to leave town. May 7th, 2022.

There are more than eight different armed groups within the borders of Shingal district, including the pro-Iran Shiite paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, Ezidikhan Asayish (security), YBS, Women Protection Units YPZh, the local police, the federal police, the Iraqi army, the Ezidkhan Peshmerga and the KRG Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) forces.

The residents and activists of war-torn Shingal call for pacification following end of April prisoner swap between the Iraqi army and the YBS which resulted in cautious stability since latest clashes left in casualties in both sides.

Salah Salim, a civic activist from Borik, said they have blocked the main highway leading to Sinuny and Shingal, asking the armed group to evacuate.

“Please let us lead our life. We thank everyone who defended our people and land but now we do not want any armed forces except for the local police,” Salim said. “We won’t stop till all armed groups retreat.”

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