Zeynep Murad, the Co-Chair of the Kurdish National Congress (KNC) spoke to the Mesopotamia Agency regarding the increasing political and military tensions in Sinjar (Shengal).
The history of the Yazidi community, an ethno-religious minority group, mainly residing on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq, has been a history full of brutal ethnic-cleansing campaigns. Especially when ISIS invaded Sinjar in 2014, Yazidi people faced one of the most violent attacks in their history.
ISIS occupation of Sinjar resulted in the abduction of thousands of Yazidi women and children and the massacre of more than five thousand Yazidis, according to the United Nations (UN).
Six years after that ISIS attack the Yazidi people living in Sinjar face yet more threats and attacks.
With the Sinjar agreement signed between the Iraqi Central Government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on 9 October 2020, the pressure on Yazidi people have been steadily rising.
Both Hewler (Erbil) and Baghdad have been demanding that local Yazidi security forces, known as the Yazidi Asayish evacuate Sinjar. On the other hand, the Yazidi people in Sinjar have stood up against this imposition as the Sinjar Democratic Autonomous Assembly (MXDS) strongly condemned the Sinjar Agreement.
1 April is the deadline given by Hewler and Baghdad for the Yazidi security forces to leave the region while the resistance of the Yazidi people has continued for over 100 days in support of their local forces.
Sinjar without Yazidis
Murad shared her view that after Hewler and Baghdad agreed on the Sinjar Agreement, which aimed at the elimination of the local security forces of the Sinjar people, opening a path for the military deployment of Iraqi soldiers on Sinjar Mountain, the plans to attack Sinjar have been revealed.
“Everyone knows that this agreement was signed without consent of the Yazidis. Those who refrained from defending the people of Sinjar against the attacks of ISIS, [KDP] want to hand out Sinjar to ISIS again by attacking the local security of Sinjar, which has proved to be the defenders of the people,” Murad said.
Forces in the region want to “create a Sinjar without Yazidis”, Murad underlined. ‘This agreement wants to remove the Yazidis from Sinjar by legal means. After the genocidal attacks of ISIS, the Yazidis rebelled and rebuilt their own forces. Yazidi youth protect themselves and their society today. Removing them from the region, means removing the guarantee of the security of the Yazidi people,” she said.
‘Demographic structure’ in Sinjar is wanted to be changed ‘just like Afrin’
The Sinjar agreement based mainly on the political interests of the forces in the region, mostly Turkey, Murad stated, “Just as Turkey changed the demographic structure of Afrin, Turkey and their Iraqi partners want to change the demographic structure in Sinjar,” the KNC Co-Chair said.
Emphasising that a number of political parties, non-governmental organisations and people in the Federated Kurdistan Region all take a critical position against the Sinjar Agreement, Murad said the agreement is not only a threat for Sinjar, but also a threat for the whole region.
“Yazidis have been resisting against the psychological war for over 6 months. They are doing all they can to prevent the implementation of the agreement in order not to be displaced from their hometown by force. There is a serious reaction against this agreement not only in Sinjar but in all parts of Kurdistan. Nobody will allow the Yazidi to face a massacre again,” she said.
“If the articles of the agreement on Sinjar are put into practice, it will devastate the peoples of the region,” the KNC Co-Chair warned.