Iraqi forces implement first phase of Sinjar deal
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi federal police have started to implement an agreement – between Baghdad and the authorities in Erbil – which demands the eventual eviction of militias from the disputed region of Sinjar, in the north of the country.
Police forces began to lower banners and flags of different armed groups on public land in Sinjar (Shingal).
The Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced on October 9 that they had reached an agreement to restore and normalize the situation in the Shingal region, where competing armed groups are active.
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The agreement, supported by the international community, aims to withdraw the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Popular Mobilization Forces (FMP) from the strategic city on the border with Syria.
The implementation by Baghdad came after a series of intensive meetings recently between senior Iraqi officials and the KRG. The mayor of Shingal, Mahma Khalil, explained to Kurdistan 24 that the decision of the federal police “falls within the framework of the implementation of the Shingal agreement”.
The flags withdrawn included those of the PMF, the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBÅ) – a PKK-aligned paramilitary group that receives salaries from the PMF – and the Ezidkhan Protection Forces. In their place, the police hoisted Iraqi flags on the official institutions of the city.
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Federal police will protect the area up to the Syrian border, according to the agreement. He also calls for the election of a new Shingal administration and pushes for the formation of a local force to manage its security.
Before the so-called Islamic State invaded Shingal in August 2014, it was home to some 200,000 residents, mostly members of the Yazidi (Ezidi) religious minority. The terrorist group carried out the kidnapping and massacre of countless numbers of people, and thousands of women and girls were forced into sexual slavery. These atrocities are now widely recognized as genocide.
More than six years since then, much of Shingal remains uninhabitable rubble, and very few of its former residents have returned to their homes. Tens of thousands of Yazidis from Sinjar and surrounding areas remain displaced in the Kurdistan region. Others fled to Europe and other areas abroad.
Editing by Khrush Najari