Kurdistan Region warns that PKK is tightening its grip on Sinjar, urges international action

An Iraqi soldier stands guard in Sinjar (Shingal), in front of a wall with PKK-themed graffiti. (Photo: AP)
An Iraqi soldier stands guard in Sinjar (Shingal), in front of a wall with PKK-themed graffiti. (Photo: AP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Interior called on Iraq's federal government and the international community to support the implementation of the Sinjar (Shingal) Agreement, signed between Erbil and Baghdad one year ago to allow for the normalization of both security and public services in the disputed district the deal is named for.

A ministry statement pointed out that a year has passed since the signing and announcement of the agreement, reached with the active support of the United Nations.

It stated that, out of the public interest, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) "showed all flexibility to reach that agreement" to "provide for suitable living conditions for Yezidis (Ezidi) to return to their areas and to their normal lives."

Since late 2017, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is fighting a decades-long conflict with Ankara over Kurdish rights in Turkey, and Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militias have controlled various parts of Sinjar.

The ministry referred to the armed groups as those "impeding the law and the return of the displaced and the legitimate administration to the area."

"A year after the signing of the agreement," read the statement, "there are even more militias present and Iraqi federal security forces appear helpless against them." 

“As happened in the past days, the groups affiliated with PKK, before the eyes of the Iraqi forces, prevented the Iraqi parliament's candidates from going to the region to exercise the right to campaign which is against all local and international laws, against political freedom, and the rule of law,” the regional Interior Ministry added.

Regarding the implementation of the agreement, which includes the ouster of all non-governmental armed factions, it explained that "wasting all this time does not serve any party, and that the main victim of the failure to implement the agreement is the citizen in the region and the sovereignty of the Iraqi nation."

It concluded by calling on the federal government to carry out the deal's provisions, also calling on the United Nations and the international community to continue to actively follow up on its implementation.