Iraqi army regiment leaves Shingal (Sinjar)

Nineveh, December 2021: A unit of the Iraqi army deployed in Shingal district. Media of West Nineveh Operations’ Command

By Ammar Aziz in Nineveh

An Iraqi army unit deployed in war-torn Shingal has withdrawn following tensions with supporters of militant groups affiliated to Kurdistan Workers Party PKK.

The Iraqi army regiment which was deployed downtown in Sinuny sub-district and Khana Sur complex of Shingal recently withdrew following the events that erupted on December12th.

The Iraqi government sent members of the regiment from Mosul to two areas in Shingal following the events of December 12, when clashes erupted between an army detachment and a number of demonstrators who took to the streets to condemn the Turkish bombing of the area, and the clashes resulted in the burning of an Iraqi army Humvee vehicle.

The pro-PKK Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal formed years ago by several Ezidi and Arab parties and other components, currently managing Shingal affairs without approval from the federal government or the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

Khudeda Elias, head of the local Council in Sinuny, told KirkukNow, "The Iraqi army withdrew 600 soldiers in addition to dozens of military vehicles from Sinuny two days ago. It seems that they withdrew due to the stability of the situation in the region, especially after that he protests were over.”

"There is currently no military Hummer on the streets or in the middle of the market, and there are a small number of soldiers on the streets, as was the case before the events of January 12."

Shingal district, located 120 km west of Mosul, is administratively part of Ninewa province and part of the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad. ISIL militants overran the from August 3, 2014, before it was recaptured on November 13, 2015.

The pro-PKK groups then played a role in securing a safe passage for the vulnerable Ezidi community to escape Islamic ISIS atrocities mounted to genocide, toward Mount Shingal and IDP camps in Northern Duhok province where still thousands prefer life under tents and plain shelters to life in war-devastated hometown.

The groups played role in the war against ISIS which has paved the road for Shingal residents show support for the groups, while accusing Iraqi and Kurdish forces of turning their back to them to face IS atrocities by themselves.

  "Two days ago, we noticed that there were fewer military vehicles in the center of Shingal...Two days ago, a group of soldiers and military Hummers that were brought to Khana Sur withdrew," said Vero Mirza, a resident of the Khana Sur complex in Shingal.

"They had deployed about 20 Hummers and a large number of soldiers on the streets, but now there are only a few of them left," Mirza added.


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

The Iraqi army has not yet announced the withdrawal of that regiment from Shingal, while an official in the Autonomous Administration Council said in a previous statement to (KirkukNow), "The Iraqi government wants to remove those forces that it describes as illegal, but Al-Yabsha and Asayish Ezidkhan are not illegal forces." They are from the people of Shingal, so we will continue our struggle and we do not need the presence of other forces."

Shingal Resistance Units Yabasha and Asayish Ezidikhan are described close to the PKK which is fighting Turkey since 1980s and holding territories in Iraqi Kurdistan region and the disputed territories.

The Iraqi government and the KRG are trying to restore power in Shingal gradually via Shingal Agreement signed in October 2020 and at the same time to exclude the paramilitary groups such as pro-PKK groups and Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF.

There are more than eight different armed groups within the borders of Shingal district, including the pro-Iran Shiite paramilitary PMF, Ezidikhan Asayish (security), Yabsha, the local police, the federal police, the Iraqi army, the Ezidkhan Peshmerga and the KRG Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) forces.

According to the content of the agreement concluded to reorganize the administrative, security and service file in Shingal district, the local police, the intelligence service and the National Security Service, in coordination with the security forces of the KRG will be assigned to manage the security file of Shingal while the armed forces of the federal government will be deployed in the outskirts of the.

The past two years witnessed several protest demonstrations by supporters and members of the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal against the Erbil-Baghdad Shingal Agreement.

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