PKK terror group’s presence is preventing the Ezidi community from returning to their homes in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region, said a senior official.
After being driven out of their homes by the PKK, a vast majority of the community dwells in tents, despite unfavorable weather conditions in the summer and winter, said Jafar Simo, the head of Ezidi affairs directorate in Duhok, a city in Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Sinjar has a strategic position as it is some 120 kilometers (74 miles) from Mosul, the last bastion of ISIS/Daesh terror gourp in eastern Syria which was liberated in 2019, and close to the Turkish-Syrian border.
The terror group aims to create a corridor between the YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq’s northern Qandil region.
He added that some Ezidis returned to Sinjar only to realize their mistake and returned to the tents.
Not even a single clause of the agreement between KRG and the central government that was reached in 2020 has been enforced, Simo said.
He went on to say that complete chaos prevails in Sinjar.
Not even basic infrastructure and services are provided there, Simo said.
He asserted that while the living conditions in many other parts of the region, which were liberated from Daesh/ISIS improved, Sinjar endures many difficulties.
Ezidis think they are subjected to injustice and have asked the central government in Baghdad to move against the illegal groups occupying Sinjar, Simo said.
How did 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.
Increasing tensions after Sinjar Agreement
The tension in the region increased after Baghdad announced on Oct. 9, 2020 a "historic deal" with northern Iraq’s KRG to bolster the federal government's authority in Sinjar.
Clashes broke out between PKK supporters and Iraqi forces in Sinjar on March 11, 2021, according to local media reports.
The PKK terror group was reportedly stopped at a checkpoint belonging to the Iraqi forces, and the terror group attacked an Iraqi military vehicle.
On Dec. 12, 2021, clashes broke out between the Iraqi military and groups affiliated with the PKK, during which an army tank was set on fire and two demonstrators were injured, the KRG Anti-Terrorism Unit said in a statement.
The conflict between the PKK and Iraqi forces flared up on April 19 after the terror group refused to vacate a checkpoint.
An Iraqi soldier was reportedly killed and some people were injured in clashes on May 1-2, according to local media reports.
Ezidis forced out by PKK
After the Daesh/ISIS attack in 2014, most Ezidis had to leave their homes and flee to various parts of the country, including the KRG area. Some of the Ezidi victims also took refuge in Turkiye.
The PKK abducted and forcibly recruited Ezidi children in Sinjar. The Ezidi people held many protests for the release of their children kidnapped by the terror group.
The recent clashes have seen Sinjar residents once again displaced from their homes.
On May 4, Viyan Dehil, an Ezidi lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament, said more than 4,000 civilians have been displaced in Sinjar in just two days.