Kurdistan Shingal can't be reconstructed with ‘illegal forces’ present: Barzani

Shingal can't be reconstructed with ‘illegal forces’ present: Barzani
The destroyed Ezidi-populated city of Sinjar (Shingal), southwestern Kurdistan Region. (Photo: Getty Images)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani stated on Friday that Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters and its affiliated groups should leave the Ezidi city of Sinjar (Shingal).

During a meeting with the community leader of the Ezidis Mir Tahseen Beg and Ezidi Council members in Duhok, Barzani mentioned that the war-torn city would not be reconstructed as long as the ‘illegal forces’ stay in the area, referring to the PKK and its armed wings that have been stationed in Shingal and surrounding area.

The president highlighted that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the Federal Government of Iraq, and the international community would rebuild Shingal, calling for PKK and its groups to withdraw from the area.

He also stated that the KRG is trying to declare Shingal as a province of the Kurdistan Region.

Regarding the tragedy and atrocities that the Ezidi people have faced in the hands of the Islamic State (IS), Barzani said that the tragedy pains every Kurd hence hundreds of Peshmerga soldiers have sacrificed their lives while fighting to liberate Shingal from the jihadist group.

Moreover, in a joint announcement Yezidi (Ezidi) leaders urged the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters last week to retreat from Shingal.

Last Friday, clashes erupted between Peshmerga and the PKK-affiliated armed-wing in the Khanasor area of northwestern Sinjar (Shingal). The violence resulted in casualties from both sides.

“The wounds of Ezidis are still not cured, and we don’t want to face more injuries,” a member of the Ezidi Religious Council (ERC) stated as he read the announcement.

“We call for stopping intra-Kurdish fighting,” he continued.

“We see Shingal, Snune, and Khanasor as part of Kurdistan, and we have always asked to be directed and managed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG),” the Council member added.

He mentioned Ezidis did not want their areas to be divided, stating it would not serve the interest of Ezidis in the future.

“We thank the PKK for helping Ezidis and opening a corridor in Shingal on Aug. 3, 2014, to rescue Ezidis to Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan], but we ask them to return to their areas in Rojava,” the joint announcement explained.

IS occupied Shingal in Aug. 2014, committed mass executions against the Ezidis and enslaved and sold their women as a market commodity.

Peshmerga forces with the support of the US-led coalition warplanes liberated Shingal on Nov. 14, 2015.

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“KRG does not want clashes or tensions to occur,” the statement concluded.