Sinjar Agreement in jeopardy, says Yezidi commander

"The Shingal Agreement has not been implemented in any way, and the groups affiliated with the PKK and PMF have not withdrawn," Haidar Shasho said in an interview with Kurdistan 24.
author_image Hiwa Shilani
The city of Sinjar following tis liberation by Peshmerga forces in 2015. (Photo: Alice Martins/Washington Post)
The city of Sinjar following tis liberation by Peshmerga forces in 2015. (Photo: Alice Martins/Washington Post)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi leader said Saturday that groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) still reside in the disputed Sinjar district, and called on the federal government of Iraq to implement the Sinjar Agreement.

On Oct 9, 2021, Baghdad and Erbil signed an agreement aimed at normalizing the situation in Sinjar (Shingal) in terms of security, services, and administration after years of chaos, devastation, and destruction in the district.

Read More: KRG and Baghdad reach administrative, security agreement on Sinjar

One of the terms of the agreement is the expulsion of the PKK and PMF from the strategic area.

A local force of 2,500 Yezidis (Ezidis) was supposed to be formed to replace these groups, with the security file being managed by the official armed forces to create the appropriate environment for the return of the displaced to their homes and to begin the reconstruction of the city.

"The Shingal Agreement has not been implemented in any way, and the groups affiliated with the PKK and PMF have not withdrawn," Ezidkhan Protection Force commander Haidar Shasho said in an interview with Kurdistan 24.

"The Iraqi government has the responsibility to enforce those terms."

Many different forces have formed in and around Shingal over the past few years, and the government has not been able to control them so far. Recently, the PMF sent large reinforcements to Shingal, coinciding with a resurgence of reported PKK presence.

Security officials in the Kurdistan Region have previously said that the federal government did not implement the agreement as stipulated.

The United Nations has repeatedly called for the implementation of the agreement, which members of the international community have also welcomed.

Read More: UN envoy calls for faster implementation of Sinjar agreement

Shasho explained that the situation is yet to be made "suitable" to facilitate the return of displaced Ezidis and noted that PKK and PMF affiliates still occupy areas in and around Shingal, taking up abandoned property as their bases of operation.

The Yezidi leader further claimed that the federal government has begun giving these groups "new names" instead of ousting them as stipulated in the agreement.

The presence of the PKK and its allies in Shingal district has turned it into a new arena for conflict with Turkey.

Shingal is one of the areas disputed between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi federal government. It fell to ISIS in 2014, where the terrorist organization committed genocide against the Yezidis. The destruction caused by ISIS and subsequent battles to liberate the area have left it in ruins.

According to aid organizations, Shingal needs at least $10 billion to rehabilitate its infrastructure.

Editing by Khrush Najari