Ezidi activist, member of group calling for ceasefire, killed

Shingal (Sinjar), May 2022: Jamil Sulaiman, first on the right, was actively participating in demonstrations against the war and demanding the withdrawal of armed groups from the towns in the region. Photo exclusively shared with KirkukNow.

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The body of an Ezidi (Yazidi) activist was found dead in an unfinished house outside Shingal, south of Ninewa province.

Jamil Sulaiman, 40, was found dead with several bullets in his body. Sulaiman was an active member of the group that called for the withdrawal of all armed groups from Shingal except for the local police.

He left his home in Sinuny subdistrict of Shingal on Thursday afternoon and his body was recovered by police near Dahola community in Shingal the same afternoon.

Saeed Shamo, a member of the Independent Yazidi Youth Group and Jamil Sulaiman's uncle's son, told KirkukNow, “Jamil did not harm anyone. He has served Shingal and its people more than serving his own family.”

“I want to announce that a group close to the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) have threatened the independent Yazidi youth group and Jamil also has been threatened, but we do not know who killed him yet.”

The (Iraqi) national security service (INSS) has arrested Jamil Sulaimani's driver and are investigating him

"The (Iraqi) national security service (INSS) has arrested Jamil Sulaimani's driver and are investigating him. YBŞ previously accused us of helping the Turkish state in bombing Sinjar, and said they will investigate the whole group," he added.

The National Security has arrested Sulaimani's driver and is under investigations.

The group of Ezidi youths in the district of Shingal, home to the Ezidi community in Ninewa province, have been demonstrating since May 2, demanding an end to the fighting between the Iraqi forces and the armed groups, withdrawal of all armed groups from the district except the local police, and the establishment of an independent administration.

The group, which has more than 50 members, has been demonstrating since last May every evening at the center of Shingal and Sinuny to express their protests in various ways to resolve the situation in their war-torn region.

They have announced a temporary suspension of its public peaceful gatherings at a press conference on June 18, after that the tribal chiefs of the region gave the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ), a group headed by the autonomous council, several days to leave the town.

Shingal, west of Mosul, after the expulsion of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, is going through an unstable security situation and direct confrontations between different armed groups in the region, each trying to impose its domination over the district.

Sinjar, May 2022: Jamil Sulaiman, second from left, participates in demonstrations in Sinuny subdistrict. Photo shared with KirkukNow.

"We have nothing to do with the killing of this person and we have not threatened anyone," said Khudeda Elias, head of the self-governing council in Sinuny, which is an umbrella for YBŞ.

"We are only saying that the group that considers itself independent is not independent. The day the Turkish plane bombed the headquarters of the Sinuny council, the group was in Erbil," he said, without giving further explanation.

All we are saying is the group considers itself independent but it is not

Jamil Sulaiman, 40, has two children and works for the federal government's border guard force. He is also in charge of media and communications for the Yazidi House, a religious and social organization that helps the poor and victims of war and occasionally issues statements on the situation in Sinjar.

A senior police source in Shingal, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told KirkukNow, “Jamil had several bullet wounds. His body was found in an unfinished house near Duhola community in Shingal. We continue our investigations.

Dahola community is about 17 km away from Sinuny, where Jamil Sulaiman lives.

"As far as we know, he was a member of the independent Yazidi youth group and with his friends demanded the withdrawal of all armed forces from Shingal," the anonymous source added.

snjar 2022 (4)
Shingal, May 2022: A group of Ezidi youth gathered in the center of Shingal applealed to armed group to evacuate towns to evade fighting and more civilian causalties. KirkukNow

According to the Shingal police, in 2022, four civilians were killed with weapons similar to Sulaiman’s case.

Jalal Kamal, another member of the group, affirmed Sulaiman has not said anything wrong against any political group or force.

In the second week of June, 19 people representing the protesting youth of Shingal paid a visit to Baghdad to convey their demands to the federal government officials, asking them to take a firm stand.

"The killing of our friend is a sign that Shingal is not safe," he said. "There is certainly a threat to every individual in our society.”

The group was formed after fighting between the Iraqi army and the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ), a group affiliated to Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, which fights Turkey since 1980s and holds territories in Iraq, in May this year, which claimed casualties from both, while more than 800 families were displaced.

At the early hours of May 2nd, troops of the Iraqi army with heavy weapons supported by warplanes attacked two points of pro-PKK Ezidkhan Asayish (Security), 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 Ezidkhan Asayish members to evacuate a military post near Sinuny. A fighter of YBS was killed and three injured, in addition to the injury of 21 soldiers of the army Iraqi army and three civilians.

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, yet the agreement has not been implemented so far in light of the presence of eight different armed forces.

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.

They also played a remarkable role in the war against ISIS. Most of the YBS militants are Ezidis and part of the YBS and Ezidkhan Asayish under the Autonomous Administrative Council, as part of those fighters has officially joined the Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, known as Al-Hashid Al-Shabi.

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.

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

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