While there is a relative calm on the third day of the Iraqi military’s recent move to take over control of the Yazidi homeland Sinjar (Shengal), groups of civilians were reported to have stayed throughout the night at posts of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ).
Iraqi military’s statement
Following clashes on Sunday and Monday between Iraqi troops and Yazidi fighters of the YBŞ and Yazidi Internal Security, the Iraqi Security Media Cell released a statement, saying:
“Sinuni [Snuny] district in Sinjar witnessed security incidents last night and this morning. The public must know the details of these events. A group of so-called members of the Yabsha organisation cut off a number of roads linking the Sinuni and Khansur district with the neighbouring compounds and villages, and set up barriers on these roads.
“The movement of citizens between these areas is prohibited. With the first light of this day, the military units began to lead the operations of Western Nineveh, and the units took action to open the roads, but they were subjected to heavy firing by snipers on the roofs of a number of buildings, as explosives were placed on the roads.
“Our units dealt with those deceived elements in accordance with the rules of engagement to impose the rule of law and order, and responded to the sources of this firing with precision, and opened the roads for the movement of citizens.”
Statement by UNAMI
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) also released a statement on Monday on Twitter, promoting the ‘state authority’ of the Iraqi administration in the region, and warning against ‘domestic and external spoilers’.
“Deeply concerned about clashes in Sinjar, with grave consequences for civilians. Sinjaris’ safety and security should be front and centre. They’ve suffered enormously in the past and deserve peace under state authority. Domestic and external spoilers have no place in Sinjar.”
The UNAMI’s choice of words in its remark on ‘domestic and external spoilers’ reflected neighbouring Turkey’s claims over the Yazidi fighters being affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated a ‘terrorist group’ in Turkey.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal government commission, urged, on the other hand, the Iraqi Army to cease hostilities. It said:
“We call on the Iraqi military to cease hostilities in Sinjar & immediately resume efforts to implement the Sinjar Agreement, particularly to prevent another exodus of those precious few Yazidi genocide survivors who had returned to their homes.”