Two protestors, soldier wounded in Shingal demonstrations

Ninawa, Dec. 12th 2021- Tension following a demonstration by pro-PKK people in Shingal against last Turkish air strikes. Photo from a video by Roj News

By Ammar Aziz in Ninawa

Two civilians and an Iraqi soldier were wounded Sunday evening following demonstrations by part of people of Shingal (Sinjar) district of Ninewa province protesting the latest attacks by Turkish airstrikes targeting pro-PKK groups.

Two sources told KirkukNow that two residents of Sinuny sub-district of Shingal were injured by gunfire of Iraqi army patrol deployed downtown after that they rejected calls of the protestors to leave town.

In return, the security media cell said in a statement Sunday that a soldier was wounded and a military vehicle was set on fire by the demonstrators.

Nayif Jundi, a store keeper downtown, said the Iraqi army have deployed a Hummer and several soldiers in town for 20 days. “Residents asked them to go away and leave but the soldiers refused.”

“Tensions erupted, the soldiers shot gunfire and two civilians were wounded. People throw stones at the Humvee and set fire to part of it,” Jundi added.

The Autonomous Administrative Council founded years ago by several Ezidi (Yazidi), Arab parties and other components is administering SHingal region on  the ground and is considered close to the Kurdistan Workers Party, which is fighting turkey since 1980s and holds territories in Iraqi Kurdistan region and the disputed territories.

Shingal Autonomous administrative Council though not recognized by the federal government in Baghdad or the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government KRG is backed by the locals supporting pro-PKK groups: Ezidkhan Asayish (security), Shingal Struggle units YBSh and YPZh (Women Protection Units) based in Shingal Mountain. Ezidkhan Asayish (security) has about 1,000 fighters and is part of YBSh, in charge of the security in the area.

Khudeda Elias, in charge of the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal, said they have asked the Iraqi army to remove that Humvee in the center of Sinuny and they kept saying today or tomorrow.

“People are mad at Iraqi officials following murder of one of our officers by Turkish airstrike so this happened. People politely asked Iraqi soldiers to leave but they rejected and came into clashes.”

Two people were injured, one of them is a woman. In return, people attacked the vehicle by sotnes, he added.

Protestors responded to gunfire by throwing stones in Sinuny of SHingal. Video by ROj News

On December 7th, a Turkish bombardment targeted the vehicle of Marwan Badal Haji, the head of the Sinjar Struggle Units YBSh. Haji was killed and his two daughters were slightly injured.

Few days later, Turkish planes bombed the headquarters of the Autonomous Administration Council in Khana Sur in Shingal, which was previously the headquarters of the Lalish Cultural and Social Center.

End of October 2020, the fighters of YBSh withdrew from their bases and offices in Shingal to the outskirts in order to deploy Iraqi federal police according to Shingal agreement between Baghdad and Erbil. Part of them has joined regiment 80 of pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

In October 2020, the Iraqi government and the KRG signed the Shingal Agreement aimed to reorganize the security and administrative sectors 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 yet it has not been fully implemented up today.

The agreement was hailed by Baghdad, Erbil, USA, United Nations and Ankara as it leaves no excuse for any militia including the PKK to stay in town.

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

The militant groups are PMF, YBSh and Ezidkhan Asayish which are pro-PKK, federal and local Police, Iraqi army and the Kurdistan Regional Government's KRG Peshmerga.

The Iraqi Security Cell said in a statement about the incident that protests sparked tension with the Iraqi army and a soldier was wounded and the Humvee was shot by gunfire.

“The security forces put an end to the demonstrations peacefully and are investigating the gunfire,” the statement added.

Elias said the situation is calm “yet no idea what will happen tomorrow.”

The protests followed an order by Shingal Council Sunday to suspend work in government departments and non-governmental organizations in Shingal district, due to the continued bombing of Turkish warplanes, a step provoked the discontent of the Ninewa administration which is pushing to stand in the face of the decision and keep doors of state departments open.

“We insist to close state offices,” Elias affirmed.

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