Shingal passed calm and stable day following clashes

Shingal (Sinjar), 2021- One of the 50 volunteer traffic policemen appointed by Shingal Autonomous Administration Council. Ibrahim Ezidi

By Ammar Aziz in Ninawa

The war-torn district of Shingal in Ninewa province passed a calm and stable day following clashes between protestors and Iraqi army on Sunday, while most government departments resumed work despite calls for boycott.

On Sunday, December 12th, the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal decided to stop working hours in government departments in Shingal district, because the Iraqi government "did not take a position" regarding the continued Turkish bombing of the area.

On the other hand, demonstrations were held to condemn the Turkish bombardment in Sinuni sub-district, which resulted in clashes between the people of the district and a military detachment of the Iraqi army, in which “two civilians and a soldier of the Iraqi army were wounded”, but the situation stabilized on Monday, December 13, and most government departments disregarded calls for suspending work.

Ajaj Aslan, a resident of Sheikhan district, said went to Sinuny sub-district to complete a paperwork in one of the departments and the working there was normal and completed his business.

"I passed 10 checkpoints between Sheikhan and Shingal, many military Hummers and Soldiers were deployed in the area.”

"The families who live near the headquarters of Shingal Struggle Units (YBSh) evacuated their homes for fear of renewed clashes that occurred yesterday."

Some of those who participated in Sunday's demonstration against the Turkish bombing and the presence of the Iraqi army in Sinuni are accused of being loyal to the YBSh, forces close to the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK.

While most government departments in Shingal resumed working hours after the Autonomous Administration Council decided to stop working in them.

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 PKK 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 Women Protection Units YPZh based in Mount Shingal. Ezidkhan Asayish (security) has about 1,000 fighters and is part of YBSh, in charge of the security in the area.


Shingal, December 12th 2021- Tensions and clashes erupted between demonstrators and members of the Iraqi army. Photo taken from a video of Roj News TV Channel

"I went to work today because I disagreed with the decision to stop working hours. The situation is now stable in Shingal and Sinuny, and people go out to their daily work as in ordinary days," said Fahad Hamid, mayor of Shingal district.

"According to my information, all government departments in Shingal conducted the transactions of citizens and the work hours were normal. I am not supportive of stopping government departments, because the departments serve people without discrimination," said Hamid, who was nominated as mayor of Shingal by the pro-PKK Council of Shingal.

"The silence of the Iraqi government about the bombing of Shingal by Turkey has angered the people," he elaborated.

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.

During the past year, the Turkish army was carrying out cross-border operations and air strikes targeting several areas of Shingal where headquarters of pro-PKK officials are located.

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 pro-iran Popular Mobilization Forces (Al-Hashid al-Shabi) PMF, pro-PKK YBSh, YPZh and Ezidkhan Asayish, federal and local Police, Iraqi army and the KRG Peshmerga.

The calls for suspension by pro-PKK groups have not resulted in mobilizing the public against Baghdad

As for the schools, Saad Metu, Director of Shingal Education, Department of Arabic Studies, confirmed that school were normal.

But Mohsen Ali, an employee in the Shingal Agriculture Division, said "Although I went to work, I did not find anyone there. I called my manager and he said no one came to work, you also go back home."

For his part, the joint deputy head of the Shingal Administration Authority, Azad Hussein, told KirkukNow, "The decision of the Autonomous Administration Council to stop working hours has not been canceled.”

“We did not mean by stopping working hours to disrupt citizens' transactions, but rather our goal is to create a unified position in the Ezidi society to protest the silence of the Iraqi government," Hussein added.

On October 17, 2017, the forces of the federal government entered Sinjar district, and in return the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government withdrew, after the relations between the two governments worsened due to the independence referendum launched by Kurdistan Region.

Since then, there are two administrations in Shingal, one of which is based in Sinjar, and was formed after the events of October 16 and manages judicial affairs, while the other administration, which was formed since 2013, based in Dohuk Northern Province.

The Ezidi community blame Iraqi and Kurdish forces for turning their back to them when barbaric militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL stormed their region in 2014 up to 2017 and committed atrocities amounted to genocide lately recognized by European parliaments.

They found the pro-PKK forces as the only way to protect their community and restore safety and stability. They accuse the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP which was the senior Kurdish player in the region of collaboration with Turkey against pro-PKK groups.

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, center of Nineveh province, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi religious community considered infidels by the extremist militants of ISIL and part of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.

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