PKK blocking return of Ezidi community to Iraq's Sinjar region: Senior official

More than 325,000 Ezidis currently living in 15 different camps in northern Duhok city, says provincial authority.

PKK blocking return of Ezidi community to Iraq's Sinjar region: Senior official

PKK terror group’s presence is preventing the Ezidi community from returning to their homes in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region, according to a senior official.

Hundreds of thousands of Ezidis, who had to flee their homes after the Daesh/ISIS terror group carried out an attack on the Sinjar district of Mosul on Aug. 3, 2014, have been living in the camps in northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) under harsh conditions for eight years.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Dayan Jaafar, the provincial director of Duhok Center for Migration and Migrants and Combating Crisis, said no decision was taken regarding the closure of camps in Duhok.

"Whoever wants to stay in the camps can stay, whoever wants to go is free," said Jaafar.

Jaafar said Ezidis refrain from returning to Sinjar as they carry concerns that their children could face new threats and disasters due to the oppression by the PKK terror group.

"Currently, a total of 325,096 Ezidis cannot return to Sinjar and are living in camps in Duhok. Ezidis stay in 15 different camps and they consist of 65,034 families in total," Jaafar noted.

Jaafar underlined that refugees living in the camps are facing water shortages and similar problems.

As international aid agencies focused their attention on aid for victims of the war in Ukraine, much of the responsibility to provide support to refugees in Duhok camps fell on the KRG, he said.

Ezidis await the implementation of the 2020 Sinjar Agreement, with one of the main objectives being the elimination of PKK terrorists in the region, said Jaafar.

Jaafar underlined that most of the recent problems in the district would be solved if the 2020 Sinjar Agreement was implemented.

In October 2020, the Iraqi federal government and KRG in northern Iraq signed an agreement to preserve security in Sinjar by the Iraqi federal security forces in coordination with the KRG Peshmerga forces.

How did terrorist PKK gain a foothold in Sinjar?

Daesh/ISIS terrorists attacked Sinjar, a region with an Ezidi-majority population, in August 2014.

The terror group kidnapped and killed thousands of people, including women and children, or detained them in areas under its control.

The PKK terrorist organization managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in 2014 under the pretext of protecting the Ezidi community from Daesh/ISIS terrorists.

Sinjar has a strategic position as it is some 120 kilometers (74 miles) from Mosul and close to the Turkish-Syrian border.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.