The heads of the state departments in western towns of Ninewa province held a conference in the center of Tal Afar district, to discuss the security, public services and peace in the region, at the presence of representatives of the Arab, Turkmen, Kurdish and Ezidi (Yezidi) local clans.
The locals call for more public services following the damage caused to the public utilities by the extremist militants of the Islamic Sate of Iraq and Syria ISIS in 2014 and the war against it in 2017.
The mayor of Al-Ba'aj, Ahmed Yousef Al-Afin, stated that "the meeting focused on promoting peaceful coexistence in western Ninewa regions and rejecting extremism, but they also discussed work files to combat desertification."
"An official and popular delegation will be formed to transfer the suffering of the residents of these areas to the federal government, compensate farmers and livestock breeders for the damage they have sustained as a result of the dry seasons, and discuss the acute lack of services in the districts, in addition to cooperation with security to maintain stability,” he added.
The conference, which was held on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, was attended by the mayors of Tal Afar, Al-Baaj, Hatra, and Shingal (Sinjar) districts, the mayors of Al-Ayadiyah, Zummar, Rabia, Al Mahlabiya, Tal Abtah and Al-Qayrawan, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, tribal figures and dignitaries.
The mayor of Tal Afar Qassem Muhammad Sharif said, "It is a pleasure that Tal Afar, the administration and community elites, present an initiative for coexistence and peace, and we believe that the regions of western Ninewa are in dire need, as this initiative aims to renounce all forms of violence and extremism and bind all efforts to achieve that".
"We directed all official, administrative and security institutions in Tal Afar to make every effort to serve the residents of western Ninewa regions, and not be limited to the residents of Tal Afar," Sharif said.
The district of Talafar, 69 km northwest of Mosul, has been for nearly three years under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS, which killed dozens of its people while the fate of 1,300 of them is still unknown after that it has kidnapped them from the first hours of its control back in 2014, including Children and women.
Talafar, which has a population of about 450,000 people, is distributed over the city center and three sub-districts: Rabia, Zummar, and Al-Ayadiyah. Majority of its residents are Sunni Muslim Turkmens, while Shiite Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds reside some rural areas and villages.
Daesh committed atrocities in June 2014 when they controlled the town of Talafar. 1300 people were abducted: 700 men, 470 women and 130 children, among them 400-500 in ISIL controlled prisons in Syria, a statement by Turkmen civil society NGOs said last year.
For his part, civil activist Abdul-Jabbar Al-Zuhairi, who attended the conference, explained that "it was agreed to form a preparatory committee to hold a broader conference to agree on the general principles that unite the residents of those areas and their common destiny to mitigate the impact of crises, and cooperation and coordination between the administrative units in the administrative, security and societal fields.”
"The conference is a real opportunity and a clear message for the central and local government and international organizations in the need to pay attention to these areas and respect their privacy in order to promote coexistence and peace, combat violence and extremism, solve societal problems through dialogue, and work on the basis of patriotism away from political trends," he added.
He pointed out that the meeting agreed to hold the next conference in the district of Al-Baaj, stressing that "a mixture of various components of Ninewa participated in the conference, including Arab Muslims, Kurds, Turkmen, and Yazidis."
After the liberation of Tal Afar from the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), in August 2017, about 60% of the displaced Turkmen returned to their city, while the others, who preferred not to return, spread in a number of southern and central governorates, especially Najaf, Karbala and Babylon. In addition to the Kurdistan Region, parts of the mare still in Kirkuk while others migrated to Turkey.
Turkmens are considered the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds, residing almost exclusively in the northern towns and villages stretching from Talafar through Mosul, Erbil, Altun Kupri, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, Kifri and Khanaqin. They are half Sunnis and half Shiite.