No security inspection for IDPs returning to Shingal (Sinjar)

Ninewa, December 2021: The Iraqi army forces in Shingal district. Western Ninewa Operations Command

By KirkukNow in Ninewa

There will be no security inspection for the Ezidi (Yazidi) internally displaced persons IDPs returning to their home town of Shingal district of Ninewa province and the refugees will be able to return to their homeland without the need for prior security permission.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on November 9, 2022, according to his cabinet agenda, decided to cancel the security audit in the areas under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from 2014 to 2017, including Ninewa.

Khudeda Chuki, acting commissioner of Sinuny subdistrict of Shingal district, told KirkukNow that the decision has been implemented in Shingal and now many facilities are being provided for the return of IDPs.

“In the past, applications were sent to Intelligence after completing all relevant stat departments, a process which would take a long time.”

He also pointed out that previously, citizens faced problems at the checkpoints because of the security audit and affected the return of the IDPs.

"Since there is no audit, no citizens have had problems at the checkpoints," Chuki aded.

Last October, KirkukNow reported the concerns and demands of the returnees, especially the Yazidis and the administrative officials of Shingal about the problems they face due to security audits when they return.

Security audits were conducted for the citizens of Shingal by the Joint Operations Command of western Ninewa to see if they had any links with ISIL.

There are more than 600,000 IDPs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 30% of them Ezidis, some of whom are living in 26 camps.

Shingal (120 km west of Mosul), a disputed area in Ninewa province, was captured by ISIS on August 3, 2014, and thousands of people were killed, kidnapped and displaced.

Ninewa. 2022: A checkpoint of the Iraqi army in Sinuny subdistrict of Shingal district. KirkukNow

"The good thing about this decision is that it will facilitate the return of refugees. Now traffic between Shingal and other cities has become easier and people are not stopped at checkpoints or delayed as before," Chuki added.

“The problem is that those affiliated with ISIS can easily move around.”

The Iraqi National Security Advisor Qassim al-Araaji said in a statement in mid-June that security audits for IDPs had been cancelled, but for migrants outside Iraq, the security measures would remain in force.

“Those who cooperated with Daesh will not benefit from this decision and won’t be spared prosecution.”

There are more than eight different armed forces in Shingal, some of which are state services under Western Ninewa Operations Command, firstly the army.

According to the commissioner of Sinuny, the cancellation of the security audit should not have included the areas within the boundaries of Article 140 of the constitution, as due to instability since the security situation in these areas is different compared to other places.

Ezidis are an ethno-religious minority over half a million population, mostly residing in Shingal, in northern Iraqi province of Ninewa, and Shekhan district of Duhok Northern Province. The militants of Daesh extremist group in 2014 attacked their communities accusing them of being heretics, killing thousands of men and taking thousands of women and children as sex slaves, in an atrocity the U.N. described as genocide.

In the wake of the attacks on Shingal and other areas of Ninewa province by the extremist militants of ISIS, more than 350,000 Ezidis were displaced, 100,000 of whom migrated at the time outside Iraq. About 200,000 are still living under tents in IDP camps up today.

The extremist militants of IS kidnapped six thousand Yazidis accusing them of being heretics, the fate of nearly half of whom is still unknown, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG statistics.

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