Casualties following Iraqi Army-PKK affiliated militants' clashes in Shingal

Shingal, March 2021: Tension and clashes between supporters of the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal and the Iraqi army at the Jidali checkpoint in Al-Qahtaniyah (Tal Uzair) sub-district. KirkukNow

By Ammar Aziz

Clashes erupted between the Iraqi army forces and Ezidkhan Asayish (security forces), in Ninewa province which resulted in the injury of two civilians, amid reports that at least one Iraqi soldier was wounded.

The clashes took place Monday evening, April 18, at the entrance to the Dokri complex in the Sinuny sub-district of Shingal district, home to the Ezidi (Yezidi) community after the Iraqi army approached a security checkpoint for the Ezidkhan Asayish, and demanded them to "evacuate the military post," sources told KirkukNow

"The Iraqi army requested Ezidkhan Asayish handing them over the military post in the at the entrance to Dokari, but they refused to do so, thus armed confrontations erupted," Khudida Chuki, mayor of the Sinuny district, told KirkukNow.

The Iraqi army requested Ezidkhan Asayish handing them over the military post

Ezidikhan Asayish is made up of over a thousand Ezidi militants affiliated with the Shingal Resistance Units (the Yabsha or YBSh) and receive orders from the Autonomous Administration Council in Shingal, which is considered close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, which is fighting Turkey and holding territories in Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR and the disputed territories which includes Shingal district in Ninewa province.

In Mid-March, the local administration of war-torn Shingal declared a midnight to dawn curfew effective from March 16th to further notice for security reasons. Observers in Shingal say that Iraqi security forces were lately targeted by bombs fired by the groups affiliated to the PKK.

Yabsha and several other pro-PKK groups and forces were found and stationed in Shingal and its outskirts since 2014, after that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took over large swathes of Iraq, targeted the vulnerable Ezidi community, committing atrocities mounted to genocide. The PKK militans provided a safe escape for Ezidis which later joined the PKK militant group, accusing Baghdad and Erbil authorities of abandoning them.

Ninewa, December 2021: An Iraqi army patrol in Shingal district. Media of West Ninewa Operations Command

"The Iraqi army is determined to expel Ezidikhan Asayish forces from Shingal and the surrounding areas and hand over all their headquarters and military points to the army,” said Khudida Alias, Chairman of the Autonomous Administration Council in Sinuny. “Today's clashes were in that context. This is unacceptable."

"Today, they raided a military post of the Ezidkhan Asayish and asked to hand it over to them, but they refused, and after some quarrel, the army forces opened fire, and our comrades defended themselves, and the confrontations continued for an hour."

According to the director of the Sinuny district, two civilians were wounded during the clashes and taken to hospital, in addition to the injury of an Iraqi army soldier.

"One of the civilians is 10 years old. I visited the two wounded people in Sinuny Hospital. They were in stable health conditions."

However, the head of the Autonomous Administration Council in Sinuny, said, “three Iraqi soldiers were wounded, but we do not know whether there were casualties in the ranks of the Ezidkhan Asayish or not."

According to sources who spoke to KirkukNow, Kalashnikovs, BKCs and mortars were used in the clashes.

Alias ​​indicated that "the clashes have not stopped until this moment (7:40 pm on Monday), while Chuky stressed that "the clashes have stopped... We assure everyone that the security situation is under the control of the security forces."

KirkukNow was unable to obtain statements from the Iraqi military about the issue.

According to the content of the Shingal agreement concluded between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG in October 2020 to reorganize the administrative, security and service file in the 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.

As for the forces close to the PKK, they will not be given any security or administrative role in the judiciary, and they must evacuate the area.

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.

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