Hashd al-Shaabi's presence in Nineveh Plain causes reverse displacement: locals

Hashd al-Shaabi has reportedly stopped many dispalced families, especially the Sunnis, from returning home.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Shabak families returning to their areas of origin in Mosul and surrounding areas, after their hometowns were liberated by the Iraqi forces late last year, are facing a new problem.

Residents of Mamliyan camp, in Duhok province, Kurdistan Region, complain about the lack of security and services in the liberated areas which hinders the process of the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their places of origin.

After three years of staying at camps, Shabak, a minority in Nineveh Plain, have recently started returning to their areas but locals claim that Hashd al-Shaabi prevents Sunni Shabaks and allows Shia Shabaks.

The Shabak are an ethnic and cultural minority located in a handful of villages east of Mosul, in the Nineveh Plains, and a small group in Mosul itself. Their language is a confection of Turkish, Persian, Kurdish and Arabic.

Mohammed Tahir, one of the residents at Mamliyan camp, expressed his concerns to Kurdistan24 over the lack of safety in their hometowns.

He added that "Hashd al-Shaabi only allows their own people [Shias] and Arabs into the liberated areas; those area are not safe for us."

According to a Kurdistan24 reporter, a great number of IDPs had asked the camp management to prepare their departure, but the majority are now afraid of going back.

Mateen Abdullah, Manager of Mamliyan camp told Kurdistan24 that on Sunday 33 Shabak families left the camp to their homes in Nineveh Plain, but many of the families, especially the Sunnis, were turned away by Hashd al-Shaabi.

Abdullah said that "We have been instructed by the local government of Duhok to provide shelter for those families who are forced by Hashd al-Shaabi to return to Peshmerga-controlled areas."

Dawood Salim, another resident of Mamliyan camp also echoed the statement that the liberated areas are not yet safe for them to return due to the presence of Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces.


Editing by Ava Homa