“Yabsha Arrested Five Girls”, Families Vow to Release Them

The people of Umm al-Dhiban village of Qahtaniya sub-district gathered after the disappearance of five girls, Nineveh, May 29, 2024. Imaged circulated on social media platforms

By KirkukNow

The Shingal District Police revealed to (KirkukNow) that the Shingal Resistance Units (Yabsha) arrested five girls from a village in the Qahtaniyah sub-district (Tel Uzair) of Al-Baaj District, while the villagers say that the five girls “volunteered within the ranks of the Yabsha in exchange for a monthly salary.”

The incident occurred a few days ago, but the villagers gathered today, Wednesday, May 29, and declared a state of alert and took up arms in preparation for releasing the girls, while security forces deployed in the area in anticipation of any emergency.

A source from the families of the five girls in the village of Umm al-Dhiban anonymously told KirkukNow, “The girls volunteered within the ranks of the Yabsha forces without the knowledge of their families in exchange for a monthly salary a few days ago.”

The village residents mobilized and carried weapons to return the girls to their families.

We do not know where they are, but we know that they have joined Yabsha

"We declared a state of alert to retrieve our daughters. We do not know where they are, but we know that they have joined Yabsha."

Umm Al-Dhiban village, home to the Arab community, is located on the Iraqi-Syrian border and belongs to Qahtaniyah sub-district in Baaj district within the Nineveh Province.

An official source in Shingal police, who requested to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to make a statement, told (KirkukNow), “The information we have indicates that the Yabsha forces arrested the five girls, but we do not know the reason and so far none of them have been released.”

The source added, "The situation is tense. The villagers have taken up arms and are trying to retrieve the girls."

Most of the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ or YBSh) fighters are Ezidis (Yazidis) and close to the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, fighting Turkey since the 1980s and holding territories in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR and the disputed territories.

When the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS took large swathes of Iraq including Shingal in August 2014, the Iraqi troops backed by Kurdish Peshmarga (fighters) and pro- PKK fighters ousted ISIS in October 2015. They deployed in several areas in the region.

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 forces are deployed.

(Kirkuk Now) contacted two sources within the YBSh, one of whom refused to talk about the issue, while an official source in the force said that “the news of the arrest of the five girls is true,” without providing further information.

YBSh fighters follow the Shingal Autonomous Administrative Council. This Council was formed by the components of the Shingal district in 2015 to manage the war-torn region, but neither the Iraqi federal government nor the KRG recognized them.

Shingal, located 120 km west of Mosul, center of Nineveh province, is home to over 100,000 adherents of the Ezidi ethno-religious community, and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. Ezidis reside in Shekhan, Bashiqa, and other areas in Duhok Northern Province.

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