20 thousand PMF personnel withdrawn from Shingal

PMF doubles troops in Shingal on Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. Photo by KirkukNow

Ammar Aziz – Nineveh

The high committee of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) pulled out three brigades 0f 20 thousand personnel from Shingal (Sinjar) district, western Nineveh province, after they were stationed in more than four months ago.

Several weeks ago, the Popular Mobilization Forces withdrew three brigades from Shingal earlier dispatched to the area to counter probable Turkish army offensives.

Khal Ali, commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Shingal told (KirkukNow) that "the three brigades withdrew in June 2021 and have been redeployed to other Iraqi cities."

The dispatch of the PMF brigades to Shingal in February 2021, coincided with attacks by the Turkish army on Mount Gara in northern Iraq, where Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces are based for years, and followed threats by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed on January 22nd, to attack Shingal at any time in pursuit of groups affiliated to the PKK based in the region.

"These brigades were deployed in the area with the aim of countering a Turkish offensive on Shingal, but months layter, it became clear that it was merely a propagan, therefore we ordered the withdrawal of these brigades," according to Khal Ali. 

was merely a propagan, therefore we ordered the withdrawal of these brigades

The PMF commander added that the Turkey is still launching airstrikes targeting areas surrounding Shingal and that they are ready to confront any possible attacks on Shingal residents.

Khal Ali noted that a total of 2,000 PMF personnel are currently stationed in Shingal.

He also stressed, "We can’t assume that the threats have gone forever, but the situation in Shingal is different compared to what it was in February. We assure the people that the PMF will send its units to Shingal whenever they face a threat."

More than eight different armed forces exist in Shinga district, including the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Shingal Protection Units (YBS), local police, Federal Police, the Iraqi army and KRG's Ezidkhan Asayish and Peshmerga forces.

In October 2020, the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government signed the Shingal Agreement aimed to reorganize the security and administrative dossiers in the district, under which local police, national security and intelligence run the security of the town, while the Iraqi army forces would be deployed in the suburbs.

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi minority targeted by Islamic State (IS) group in August 2014 and one of the disputed territories between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government and Erbil. 

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