SHINGAL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – On Thursday, 400 Ezidi Peshmerga soldiers, most of whom were previously fighting for Shingal (Sinjar) Resistance Unit (YBS), an affiliated group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Shingal, graduated from their military training with the Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga forces.
The training was completed after three months in a Peshmerga base located near the Mosul Dam, according to commanders.
“This training was unique to those who left the YBS and joined Peshmerga forces. The training was designed to boost their military skills with different weapons as well as promoting their sense of belonging and nationality,” Major General Bahjat Taimaz, a Peshmerga Intelligence Commander, told Kurdisatn24 on Thursday.
Many of the graduated Peshmerga soldiers shared their feelings with Kurdistan24 and said they would "do anything to protect their areas" in the Ezidi-populated city of Shingal from any future threats.
“I am someone from Shingal who joined the Peshmerga forces. It is a sacred day for us to graduate from this military training. We learned a lot in this course,” said Khalil Jassim, one of the graduates.
“From now on, we will be ready to defend Shingal and our land from enemies,” S’ood Salih, another Ezidi Peshmerga stated.
Peshmerga commanders who supervised the military training explained that all of the Ezidi graduates were formerly YBS fighters that joined the Kurdish Peshmerga in April.
In the past months, clashes erupted between Peshmerga and YBS forces in Shingal resulting in some casualties on both sides.
Since then, the number of fighters deserting the YBS has increased according to Peshmerga commanders. The YBS refutes the claim.
Editing by G.H. Renaud
(Chakdar Jamal contributed to this report)