The Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ) have left the town of Shingal in the past several days and handed over a number of their bases to forces under the Federal Government command.
YBŞ fighters have left the centre of Shingal district, Shingal town, and were redeployed in the outskirts of the district in the past few days after making an agreement with the Iraqi army.
The move comes after a Federal Police force was sent to Shingal from Kirkuk by the Iraqi government to take control of the centre of the district.
Haval Tekoshar, a member of the YBŞ, told KirkukNow: “We don’t have any forces left in the town now; we will remain outside the town in accordance with an agreement between us and the army, until a second agreement [is made].”
In a second agreement, the forces in Shingal will assess the manner of managing the checkpoints.
“In return for the departure of our forces outside the town, a number of YBŞ forces will become part of the Hashd al-Sha’bi [PMF],” Tekoshar said, adding that they are an Iraqi force.
There are currently more than five different forces in the district, among them the Popular Mobilization Units (a coalition of Shi’a militia known as Hashd) and the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ; an Ezidi militia formed by PKK affiliates to fend off ISIS attacks), Internal police, Iraqi army and Ezid-Khan Peshmerga.
Khudéda Chouki, the mayor of Shingal’s Sinuné subdistrict, told KirkukNow: “All the checkpoints remain as they were, but from the start of next month, the Federal Police will take charge of the town’s security. That’s why the army and the other forces will depart from the town.”
Forces of the PMF (Popular Mobilization Forces) – a paramilitary force consisting of mostly Shi’a militia known as Hash al-Sha’bi – and Ezidkhan Asaiysh, belonging to Haydar Shasho are still inside the town, but it is expected that they will depart according to Chouki.
This development comes two months after the signing of the agreement between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government on 1 October 2020, which stipulates the formation of a new administration and the reorganization of the security oversight in Shingal district.
Many Ezidis in Shingal are against the agreement, especially supporters of the forces affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and have staged several protests to express their objections.
Haso Ibrahim, Haso Ibrahim, deputy chairman of the Self-Administration Council – considered close to the PKK – told KirkukNow: “We will not be handing over any places and the Ezidkhan Asaiysh will remain in their locations. Removing the Asaiysh has not yet been talked about. And even if it’s demanded, we will not abide, because when the army was in Shingal, they [Asaiysh] defended the towns.”
The Ezidkhan Asaiysh was formed after Shingal district was retaken from ISIS militants to secure the town in the districts, and they number more than 1,000.
The district of Shingal is located about 120 km west of Mosul in Nineveh province. It is considered part of the disputed areas according to the Iraqi constitution.