ISIS carries out rare attack in Shingal region

“We Ezidis believe they [ISIS] are not finished with the genocide they started.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Islamic State on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an attack against the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) in Sinjar, an armed group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The semi-official Islamic State media outlet, Amaq, claimed itsfighters ambushed a “military unit of the PKK” on Tuesday and then detonated a car bomb against a group of PKK forces near the al-Jazira complex in the vicinity of Sinjar (Shingal) mountain.

The terror group claimed it also targeted a house and detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that targeted a YBS vehicle.

Following the incident, the YBS deployed more forces to the area, prompting Islamic State fighters to withdraw, but not before they set-off another car bomb.

Local media said the Islamic State fighters attacked a YBS position near the village of Hellus in Madiwan town at around 5:45 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

The attack was carried out with four bomb-laden vehicles.

However, the local media reported that the attack was repelled, and the car bomb was destroyed before it reached its target.

The attack comes after wildfires plagued farmlands in Shingal, including the destruction of 79 mass graves that contain the remains of Yezidis (Ezidis) who suffered genocide in August 2014 at the hands of the terror group.

In late May, Islamic State-run magazine Naba claimed responsibility for fires in Syria and Iraq and said the goal was to hit the “farms of the apostates.”

On Wednesday, the YBS said it carried out operations in coordination with the Iraqi army against the Islamic State in the area.

Islamic State fighters fled toward the al-Ba’aj district of Mosul, south of Shingal, where the terrorists have some local support.

According to Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a scholar who studies militant groups, Tuesday morning’s incident was not the first time the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for operations in the Shingal area.

“It’s not surprising. They have some local support, and they also had local support when they moved into the area in [August] 2014,” Tamimi said.  

In April, Islamic State members launched an assault on the Iraqi village of Madfa’, which is part of Ba’aj, near the Syrian border.

According to Hayrî Demir, the editor-in-chief of EzidiPress, it was unexpected of the Islamic State to launch such an attack in its present situation.

Demir said many Ezidis believe local Sunni tribes who are direct members of the terror group or provide shelter for its fighters were behind the attack.

“After the attacks in Ba’aj, however, the Ezidi fighters, as well as the Iraqi troops, expected such an attack and were, therefore, prepared differently than usual,” he stated. “The attack could, therefore, be repulsed.”

Many Sunni Arab tribes to the south of Shingal have begun to slowly return to the area after the Iran-backed Shia-dominated Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), took control of the region in 2017.

Pari Ibrahim, the founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF), told Kurdistan 24 that the Islamic State attacks began in May, and “will continue because they could represent a new weapon [for] ISIS to gain power.”

More importantly, she said the Islamic State’s ideology remains undefeated.

“We Ezidis believe they [ISIS] are not finished with the genocide they started,” Ibrahim said. “The eradication of our people is still on their minds and will continue.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany