Shingal Autonomous Council: the solution is legal not military

Pro-PKK Ezidkhan Asayish (security) on alert to face Iraqi army troops in Shingal on March 11, 2021. Phot0 by Ibrahim Ezidi.


The Prop-PKK administrative council in Shingal calls for a peaceful legal solution for the issue of its security forces called (Ezidkhan Asayish) following tensions over a 24-hour notice to leave the predominantly Ezidi town.

Shingal Autonomous Council told the Iraqi in a meeting on Thursday evening the issue is political not security which requires a legal frame work not military. They passed a letter to Iraqi army whom promised to raise it to the senior commanders.

 Hasso Ibrahim, deputy of Shingal autonomous council, told KirkukNow they sent a letter to the Iraqi in the meeting emphasizing that "the problem in Shingal is political not security so there is no need to resort to power to sort out this issue."

"We emphasized we are not going to give up the rightful demands of people of Shingal in a letter. We asked them to agree on a solution in a legal framework for Ezidkhan Asayish to stay in Shingal."

We asked them to agree on a solution in a legal framework for Ezidkhan Asayish to stay in Shingal."

kirkukNow has contacted Iraqi army for several times but it could not get any feedback.

Shingal Autonomous Council, a local civil administration founded few years ago and close to Shingal Struggle Units YBSh, pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK (Kurdish rebel group fighting Turkey and occupying northern Iraqi territories)  in Khanasor northwest of Shingal. Ezidkhan Asayish, meaning security forces in Kurdish, has about 1,000 fighters and is part of YBSh in charge of the security in the area.

Ezidkhan Asayish denies leaving Shingal based on demand of Iraqi government as a part of the plan to put Shingal agreement between Baghdad and Erbil into effect.

On Thursday, tensions erupted between Iraqi army and police forces in Shingal and Pro-PKK demonstrators protesting the decision of ousting their Ezidkhan Asayish from Shingal.


March 11, 2021: Checkpoint of Iraqi army in Jedal on the way to Giruzer sub-district of Shingal which banned supporters of PKK to enter Shingal for demonstrations. Photo by Ibrahim Ezidi.

Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Region Government KRG agreed to appoint a new mayor and jointly provide security by a unit of local volunteers in order to oust other militias in particular pro-PKK troops yet the “Shingal agreement” signed in October 2020 is not effective yet.

The complex texture of the security and administrative situation in Shingal is an aftermath of ISIS reign and a source of concern of the Ezidi community in general and in particular for those returned home in hope of leading a normal life post ISIS trauma.

When Shingal fell under reign of ISIS in August 2014, Iraqi troops backed by Kurdish Peshmarga and pro- PKK fighters' ousted ISIS in October 2015 and deployed in the region.

Ali Hussein, a commander of Ezidkhan Asayish told KirkukNow "confrontation is a probable threat because Iraq has prepared itself to fight us and they brought heavy weapons so we are in turn on alert."

"Confrontation is a probable threat because Iraq has prepared itself to fight us and they brought heavy weapons so we are in turn on alert."

"We get orders from Shingal autonomous council and no one else can dictate us," he added.

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, centre of Nineveh province, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi religious minority and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.

In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square km, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district, and eight different security forces are deployed.

The militant groups are pro-Iran the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, Shingal Protection Units (YBS) which are pro-PKK, local Police, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and KRG's Ezidkhan Asayish and Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter).

Occasionally confrontations arise when Iraqi government attempts to implement Shingal agreement and ask the militias to leave the center of the town.  

Local authorities were involved in the meeting and negotiations. Natiq Allo, media officer of Shingal police told KirkukNow YBSh want Ezidkhan Asayish to stay in a legal way in Shingal and refuse to leave.

"Their demand was delivered to Iraqi army but still there is no agreement between both parties," he added.

Ibrahim told KirkukNow Iraqi army officers in Shingal promised to deliver the message to Iraqi government and "wait for response."

Turkey-PKK tension is a concern for Ezidis of Shingal as the Turkish army regularly conducts cross-border operations and air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed end of January to attack Shingal at any time in pursuit of groups affiliated to PKK based in the region.

Over 550,000 Ezidis were living in Iraq before ISIS taking control of one third of Iraqi territories. About 350,000 Ezidis were displaced, only one third of them are back to Shingal district, Nineveh province for lack of stability and poor public services and living conditions.

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