PM Barzani addresses stalled Sinjar Agreement: 'The status quo will not continue'

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaks at a town hall-style meeting in Duhok. (Photo: KRG)
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani speaks at a town hall-style meeting in Duhok. (Photo: KRG)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani recently discussed the primary reasons for the non-implementation of the Sinjar (Shingal) Agreement, a deal signed by Baghdad and Erbil to take administrative and security control of the disputed district in northern Iraq's Nineveh province. 

Almost exactly one year ago, Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced that they had reached an agreement to restore security and normalize the situation in the Sinjar area, where various competing armed groups are active.

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

In a town hall-style meeting last week, Barzani stated that the agreement was aimed at "normalizing the situation in Sinjar in preparation for the return of displaced Yezidis (Ezidis) to their homes with dignity."

He acknowledged that the agreement has not been implemented, laying most of the blame on the local spread of various militias and also the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting a decades-long conflict with Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey.

The problem, he said, is that the authority that has governed Sinjar since October 16, 2017, when Iraqi forces and Iran-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) pushed Kurdistan Region Peshmerga from Iraq's disputed territories. The various armed groups, he said, are "not affiliated with the federal government, but rather challenge it."

The statement came in response to a question by a young man from Sinjar about the fate and future of his city and the timing of the return of the displaced.

Barzani said, "There are militias and PKK there, and this is the reason for not implementing the agreement between the region and Baghdad. The authority there is not lawful and does not want the agreement implemented."

"We will never abandon the soil of Sinjar and its people" the leader vowed, explaining that "Peshmerga forces sacrificed 500 martyrs to liberate Sinjar from the clutches of ISIS." 

“The status quo will not continue," he said, and then concluded his response by saying, "We will wait for what the Iraqi government will do in this regard."