PM Kadhimi: We will oust armed groups peacefully

Baghdad, May 9, 2022: The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi meets a delegation from Shingal people. Media Office of the Prime Minister

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The Iraqi Prime Minister PM and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces pledged to expel the armed factions not affiliated with the federal government from Shingal (Sinjar) district peacefully and without a fight.

PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on May 9, in Baghdad met an Ezidi (Yazidi) delegation representing a section of the people of Shingal, to discuss the security situation and the tension followed the armed confrontations lately.

"The prime minister said we will get the armed groups out of Shingal, but we do not want them to be removed by force, but rather we want them to go out peacefully without fighting and to treat that problem with the least damage," said Farhan Ibrahim, one of the participants in the meeting of the Shingal delegation with Al-Kadhimi, to (KirkukNow).

Ibrahim, who participated in the delegation as a representative of civil society organizations, said that the meeting lasted for an hour and the situation in Shingal and the events that occurred during the past few days were discussed in detail.

an independent figure would be appointed as the mayor of Shingal

The Shingal delegation included 20 people, including a number of clan heads, prominent figures, activists and representatives of youth and non-governmental organizations.

"Al-Kadhimi is closely monitoring the situation in Shingal and striving to solve the problems, by implementing the Baghdad and Erbil agreement, which will enter the implementation phase soon," Ibrahim said.

"We asked the Prime Minister to reconsider the terms of the agreement and to take the opinions of the people of the district, and he pledged that the agreement would be accepted by the Shingalis, and in this context, an independent figure would be appointed as the mayor of Shingal."

At present, the Iraqi government considers the implementation of the terms of the Shingal 2020 agreement concluded between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG, the only way to resolve the Shingal issue, which stipulates the need for forces close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, fighting Turkey and holding territories in Iraq, to evacuate its bases in Shingal, but the agreement has not been implemented so far in light of the presence of several different armed forces in the war-torn district.

The visit of the Shingal delegation to Baghdad came after that Shingal Resistance Units YBS (Yabsha) entered into clashes with the army that lasted for several days since the second of May, resulting in deaths and injuries, in addition to the displacement of nearly two thousand families from different areas in Shingal to the camps located In Dohuk province, before the two sides reached a ceasefire.

YBS and Ezidkhan Asayish (Security) are considered a force close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, most of its members are Ezidis and it is under the authority of the Autonomous Administrative Council in Shingal.

The pro-PKK groups reject the 2020 Shingal agreement as it leaves no space in Shingal for armed groups unaffiliated to the federal government. They also denounced the meeting they were not part of it.

Hasso Ibrahim, Deputy Chairman of the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal, told (KirkukNow), "Our representatives and the Independent Youth Gathering were not part of the delegation. We reject the delegation's visit because it consisted of partisan figures and most of them belong to a certain party.”

Shingal problem cannot be resolved in this way

“The only goal of the visit was the implementation of the Erbil and Baghdad agreement, at a time when the Shingal problem cannot be resolved in this way," Ibrahim added.

The Autonomous Administration Council was established in 2015 by groups affiliated to the PKK to manage Shingal affairs, but the Iraqi government did not recognize it. In addition to that, there are currently two other local administrations: one of which was established in 2017 in the center of the district and the other was formed after the provincial elections and currently assumes its duties from Dohuk Northern Province.

"In my opinion, the prime minister is serious about his efforts to solve Shingal's problems and wants to install a new administration," said Ibrahim, who expressed surprise at the objections to the delegation's visit, noting that it was aimed at serving the public interest.

According to a statement issued by the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister, , the meeting, which was attended by senior military officials, emphasized restoring security and stability to Shingal and implementing the Baghdad and Erbil agreement, which aims to impose the authority of the Iraqi state in the district.

The district of Shingal, located 120 km west of Mosul, administratively is affiliated to Ninewa province but it is one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS militants overran the district from August 3, 2014, and it was recaptured on November 13, 2015.

On May 2nd, the troops of the Iraqi army with heavy weapons supported by warplanes attacked two points of pro-PKK Ezidkhan Asayish in Sinuny sub-district. Two were killed and 12 were injured from both sides.

The pro-PKK militants provided a narrow safe escape from the grip of the extremist militants of ISIS back in 2014 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. They also played a remarkable role in the war against ISIS.

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

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