The Sinjar (Shengal) Autonomous Administration has condemned the drone strike that killed the local administration’s co-chair on Tuesday and said that the strike was linked to the aims of the ‘9 October Agreement’ which sought to destroy the self-governance and self-defence capabilities of the Yazidi people.
Merwan Bedel Xwededa, the co-chair of Sinjar’s Autonomous Administration, was killed in the attack, reportedly carried out by a Turkish armed drone in the Xanesor region of Sinjar, the homeland of the Yazidis in northern Iraq. His two children, Dinya Merwan and Dicla Merwan survived.
The ‘9 October Agreement‘, signed by the administrations of Baghdad and Erbil (Hewler) and excluding any Yazidi representation, aims to bring Sinjar under the military and political control of the federal government, which had withdrawn its forces in 2014 in the face of Islamic State (ISIS) attacks and left the Yazidis defenceless against the atrocities of ISIS who massacred at least 7,000 and displaced hundreds of thousands. The genocide is called the ’73rd farman’ by the Yazidi people with implications to all the ‘farmans’ -or massacres- against the Yazidis in the past.
The statement by the Sinjar Autonomous Administration said: “Martyr Merwan Bedel had been struggling since the farman for the Yazidi people and for the homeland of the Yazidis. He had stood against ISIS gangs and resisted them since the very first days of the farman. He had joined the ranks of the YBŞ [Sinjar Resistance Units]. He had worked gallantly till the last day of his life for the organisation, self-defence and liberty of the Yazidi people.”
The statement also accused the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the ruling party in the Iraqi Kurdistan, for complicity in the attack. “KDP has based its existence on the presence of the occupying Turkish state,” it said. “The KDP had been targeting the Yazidis, their organisations, the autonomous administration which represents the political will of the Yazidi people and the vanguards of the Yazidis. Those who have been constantly been targeting Sinjar is responsible for this attack too.”
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the ruling party in North and East Syria, released a statement as well, criticising the international lack of concern over Turkey’s attacks in Sinjar.
“The silence of the international public in the face of such attacks is an indication of its approval of the attacks targeting the Kurdish people,” the statement said.
Mazlum Abdi, the top commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed forces of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), said on Twitter: “Opening the airspace to the Turkish state who feels free to target civilians will eventually lead to unprecedented massacres. It’s the duty of the international forces to prevent such violations and protect civilians.”
Feleknas Uca, the co-spokesperson for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, also wrote on Twitter: “Merwan Bedel had stayed in Shengal with his children when the attacks of ISIS started, and joined the resistance for the re-construction of Shengal. He was martyred today in a drone strike. You are constantly targeting civilians in Shengal. You will not succeed in destroying Shengal which ISIS had failed to destroy.”