Sinjar Protection Units, known as YBS, denies withdrawal from any of their bases in Sinjar, reiterating that they have only relocated some of their bases, which they call it “normal.”
Dzhwar Faqir, a commander of the unit, said, “whenever required, we will make changes among ourselves and we have not left our bases at all, the changes are normal and are not related to Turkish airstrikes.”
Faqir reiterated that as long as they live, “they continue their struggle and will not abandon Sinjar.”
They continue their struggle and will not abandon Sinjar
Rumors of YBS withdrawal from their numerous bases in Sinjar have circulated for several days amid the Turkish airstrikes which recently killed YBS top military commander, Zardasht Shingali.
Qassem Drbo, a Peshmerga Commander in Sinjar, stated, “after killing of their commander and some of their fighters, YBS have made numerous changes such as relocating their forces outside of their bases and lowering their movements inside Sinjar.”
However, Faqir claimed, “if we increase or decrease our forces, it is our military matters and is not due to fear of Turkish airstrikes. We are not afraid of them and we are stronger after each airstrike, we will continue on our plan which is protecting Sinjar and the Yazidi people.”
On January 15, 2020, Turkish airstrikes killed Zardasht Shingali, general commander of the YBS units in Sinjar, with three other fighters who were all Yazidi.
YBS, an affiliated Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) force, was deployed to Sinjar in 2015 after ISIS attacks in the area that targeted the Yazidi people.
Even though part of the YBS withdrew form Sinjar to Syria in 2018 in accordance to their agreement with the Iraqi government, several units of the force still operate in the area under the permission of the mentioned government.